Blue Wave AI Labs has received a $6.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop predictive models of nuclear reactor components that could cause unplanned outages. The Blue Wave research team, based at the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, says it will use the funds to analyze billions of reactor data points. 

The team plans to create a virtual sensor platform for nuclear reactor operations and maintenance that may also be applicable to the next generation of reactors.

The company believes that in the future, the virtual sensors can be implemented in energy-production systems. This could help situations where it is impossible to place or read mechanical sensors, such as near the core of a nuclear reactor, according to the company.

Tom Gruenwald, who received his PhD in physics from the Purdue College of Science, and Gina Pattermann, a serial entrepreneur, are the founders of  Blue Wave. 

“This award will allow us to use our scientific and engineering expertise and experience, along with our innovative AI and machine learning systems, to develop solutions for better predictions of potential maintenance and other issues occurring within nuclear plants,” Gruenwald said.