Cargill cuts R&D costs with MSI

May 14, 2013

Facilities, Technology

Rows of supercomputers

Cargill research and development staff had been studying a problem related to poor aeration in their fermenting process for some time.  Poor aeration caused fermentation to underperform, sometimes at great cost to the company. In one recent case, suboptimal fermentation involved an increased cost of $2.5 million per year.

To analyze the fermentation issue, Cargill had been working with outside consultants to build and run computer simulations of mixing and aeration in industrial-sized fermenters. However, turnaround times were painfully slow and the process was prohibitively expensive. The team sought a quicker, more cost effective solution.

Cargill had previously worked with the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute on some small projects and was aware that MSI offered computing services to companies at reasonable prices. For the simulation project, MSI staff worked with Cargill to license and install specialized commercial software on an MSI computer, which Cargill staff could access remotely. The resulting arrangement has proved to be a success.

Using MSI resources, Cargill has been able to evaluate, over the course of four months, a variety of different aeration schemes and identify a solution to poor aeration. This solution will be tested at full scale this month.

“MSI’s computational resources are extremely affordable and most of our jobs run immediately on submission,” says Christopher Tyler, a senior research engineer at Cargill. “We’re also able to use our licensing effectively because of these resources, saving us additional costs. I would recommend MSI to my colleagues in Cargill or in other companies for their fast, courteous and cost-effective services.”

Visit the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute to learn more about MSI external sales and services.

Interested parties can also contact Bill Hellriegel at or 612-624-1356.

Related stories:

MSI offers new resources to businesses

Submitted by Bill Hellriegel, assistant to the director, Minnesota Supercomputing Institutute.

Photo by Andria Waclawski
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