Photo of the Week: Cold as Ice – Using Titan to Build More Efficient Wind Turbines

on January 13, 2014 at 5:00 PM


Wind energy is one of the world’s fast-growing energy sources — and many of the regions that could benefit from wind energy happen to be in cold climates. Since 2005, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been researching, developing and testing materials in freezing conditions. By developing more efficient materials for wind turbines, researchers can increase turbine efficiency and reduce potential downtime for wind turbines in cold climates. The teams use Titan, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, to simulate hundreds of water droplets as they freeze, with each droplet containing one million molecules. By simulating and studying how water freezes on a molecular level, scientists are gaining an understanding of how ice forms, which will help them design better, more efficient materials for these colder climates. Pictured here is an illustration of a single water droplet, filled with molecules freezing in slow motion. Learn more about their research here. | Photo/visualization courtesy of M. Matheson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Every week, we’ll feature our favorite energy-related photo here on, at and on Twitter via @ENERGY. For other photos of the week, view our gallery. If you have ideas for Photo of the Week, send us an email at [email protected].