Director's Corner

Release Date: August 24, 2017

NETL’s Work on Multiphase Flow and Computational Sciences Accelerates Next-Generation Energy Systems


There was a time when all energy users needed to know was how to shovel coal into a furnace where it was combusted to keep the lights on, the wheels of industry turning, and homes and businesses warm and comfortable. However, in the 21st Century, new, efficient and cleaner ways to use fossil fuels in advanced energy systems is the name of the game. At NETL, we are accelerating the body of knowledge needed to make those systems better by using analytic skills in an area of research known as multiphase flow and computational sciences.

Multiphase flow research examines the way materials in different states—gas, liquid, and solids—and with different chemical properties mix, flow, and chemically react. Multiphase flows occur in most energy transformation, chemical reaction, pharmaceutical, mining, manufacturing, and environmental processes. Knowing all we can about those interactions is important for understanding and designing more efficient energy systems. It’s a complex area of investigation but one which holds the key to unlocking technologies for advanced energy applications. 

That’s why NETL partners with other U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories and some of the nation’s best academic institutions to discover, develop, and disseminate a range of important technologies designed to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of coal-based generation systems. Our work creates user-friendly simulation tools and a suite of specialized computational fluid dynamic codes that help researchers study these critical multiphase systems.

We are also using our expertise to inform decision-makers about the implications of using other fuels like biomass in chemical reactors and technologies that produce energy.

It is important and ever evolving work that demands much of the men and women who are advancing this field, which is critical to national interests. I am pleased to present stories this month that talk more in-depth about the work we do in the multiphase flow and computational sciences to benefit the nation’s energy future.

As Acting Director of NETL, Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D., builds on an extensive background in energy as he leads NETL in its mission to enhance the nation’s energy independence and protect the environment for future generations. For more information about Sean Plasynski's experience, please click here.