Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative

Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative

The Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) is a partnership among national laboratories, industry, and academic institutions including members of the NETL-Regional University Alliance (NETL-RUA) that is developing, demonstrating and deploying state-of-the-art computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate the development of carbon capture technologies from discovery to development, demonstration, and ultimately the widespread deployment to hundreds of power plants.

The CCSI Toolset is a comprehensive suite of scientifically validated multi-scale models and computational tools to enable uncertainty quantification, optimization, and risk analysis. The CCSI Toolset incorporates commercial and open-source software currently used by industry with new software tools to fill technology gaps. The CCSI Toolset:

  • Enables promising concepts to be more quickly identified through rapid computational screening of processes and devices;

  • Reduces the time to design and troubleshoot new devices and processes by using optimization techniques to focus development on the best overall process conditions and by using detailed equipment models to better understand and improve the internal behavior of complex equipment;

  • Quantifies the technical risk in taking technology from laboratory-scale to commercial-scale by understanding the sources and effects of model and parameter uncertainty; and

  • Will ultimately stabilize deployment costs more quickly by enabling industry to have a more fundamental understanding of the entire capture process.

Project Overview

The CCSI Toolset consists of new computational tools and models including:

  • Basic Data submodels, which include the ability to quantify the uncertainty in the models and parameters representing chemical kinetics, diffusion and equilibrium.

  • High resolution filtered submodels to capture the effects of phenomena, which are too small to resolve directly in large scale simulations.

  • Validated high-fidelity CFD models, which enable a detailed understanding of the internal behavior of materials inside of complex equipment, coupled with a framework to quantify the effects of uncertainty on simulation results.

  • Steady state and dynamic process models which can be used for screening new concepts and understanding how equipment behaves as an interacting system.

  • Process synthesis, design, optimization and uncertainty quantification (UQ) tools for developing optimal processes and quantifying the effects of uncertainty in models and model parameters.

  • An integrated framework for dynamics and control which will enable users to develop optimal control strategies.

  • A risk analysis and decision making framework, which brings together concepts of Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), technical and financial risk into an interface, which couples each risk component, enables the transfer of information between the components, and displays the risk analysis results.

  • A data management system and other integration tools.

Following up the initial release in 2012, the latest release in October 2013 includes 12 new products and significant updates to 11 products from the previous release to provide new capabilities and improved usability. The new tools include an integrated Framework for Optimization and Quantification of Uncertainty and Sensitivity (FOQUS), a validated CFD model to predict particle attrition, and a new tool to create reduced models of dynamic simulations to enable more effective study of the operational characteristics of potential carbon capture systems. Another new tool enables the use of advanced Bayesian statistical methods for calibration and validation of models. The latest release also includes a new basic data submodel for a high-viscosity carbon capture solvent following CCSI’s expansion into this area less than a year ago. A complete listing of the new components of the CCSI Toolset is available from The CCSI Toolset is currently licensed by 5 companies.

To provide a framework around which the toolset can be developed and demonstrated, CCSI initially focused on an industrially relevant challenge problem related to post-combustion capture by solid sorbents. A second challenge probelm related to post-combustion capture by advanced solvent systems will also be incorporated beginning in 2013.

Impacts and Benefits

Over five years, CCSI will provide Technology Developers and Plant Operators with a validated suite of models and simulation tools that enable the rapid development and deployment of new carbon capture technologies. The CCSI toolset will provide tools and methodologies that accurately predict the performance of equipment and processes; reduce the uncertainty associated with system integration and scale-up; and accelerate the commercial development of integrated carbon capture technologies. The CCSI toolset will include validated models of carbon capture equipment and processes as well as new design and analysis tools and methodologies. Industry utilizing the CCSI toolset will be able to reduce the time and expense of new technology development, from discovery to demonstration to widespread deployment, by a minimum of five years. The total cost savings that could be realized by using the CCSI toolset to scale up and widely deploy just one carbon capture technology is estimated to be approximately $500 million (net present value basis).

Another objective of CCSI is to use information from science-based models with quantified uncertainty to inform investors. Validating the models at different scales, quantifying the uncertainty of model predictions, and estimating the technical risk will enable smarter demonstrations and ultimately could accelerate demonstrations by several years.

CCSI fits within the larger National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) CCUS research, development, and deployment (RD&D) program. The CCUS RD&D program will be a rich source of data for validating models in the CCSI Toolset. For the post-FY15 phase, the CCSI Toolset will add value to the overall carbon capture effort through the acceleration of analysis of process design and integration options as 2nd generation technology is scaled from pilot to demonstration scale.


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