Multiphase flows—the simultaneous flow of materials of different phases (gas, liquid, or solid)—are encountered in most commercial energy and environmental processes. Understanding the interaction between these phases is critical to understanding and predicting the performance of energy system devices that employ multiphase flows. Equations used to describe these flows, chemical reactions and interactions between phases are very complex. NETL multiphase researchers have developed a suite of specialized computational fluid dynamic codes called Multiphase Flow with Interphase Exchanges (MFiX) to create detailed computer models of multiphase systems.

These models can greatly reduce the need to conduct time-intensive and expensive real-life experiments during the design phase of energy system planning. They can also be used to trouble-shoot and optimize the performance of existing energy systems.  Critical performance parameters are calculated in fine detail in both time and space, so only the most efficient systems are scaled up for industrial use, saving time, money, and resources. Researchers at NETL are using MFiX to perform basic and applied research on advanced fossil energy technologies including gasification, coal combustion, gas cleanup, and CO2 capture. MFIX-based research continues to further the understanding of multiphase flows, which will lead to a safer, cleaner and more affordable energy future.