Computational Energy Sciences
Simulating the complex processes occurring inside a coal gasifier, or across an entire chemical or power plant, is an incredible tool made possible by today’s supercomputers and advanced simulation software. The Computational Energy Sciences (CES) Focus Area provides such tools to the Fossil Energy program at NETL. The goal is to help scientists and engineers to better understand the fundamental steps in a complex process so they can optimize the design of the equipment needed to run it. Not only is this less costly than performing a long series of experiments under varying conditions to try to isolate important variables, but it also provides more information than such experiments can provide. Of course, the data is only as good as the computer model, but some of today’s computer models have proven to be excellent.
Two examples from NETL are the Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges (MFIX) software, which is internationally recognized as the pre-eminent software for modeling gas-solids (multiphase) flow, and which won an R&D 100 Award in 2007; and the Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulator (APECS) software, which combines commercial process simulation and computational fluid dynamics to help industries design highly integrated plants. APECS won an R&D 100 Award in 2004 and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Excellence in Technology Transfer Award in 2007. While MFIX works on optimizing one functional unit, such as a coal gasification reactor, at a time, APECS coordinates many functional units across an entire plant to optimize its operational efficiency.
For more information visit: Onsite Research - Computational and Basic Sciences