January 2013 Labnotes

NETL Collaborates with Canadian Counterparts on Gasification 

New gasifiers coming online in the 21st century will require greater fuel flexibility, reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) as well as higher throughput and conversion. In addition, new gasifiers will need to integrate with gas cleanup and carbon management equipment. At NETL, scientists have developed in-house multiphase computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model MFIX (Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges) as well as the Carbonaceous Chemistry for Computational Modeling (C3M), which allows all the major reaction-rate mechanisms inherent in the gasification process to be coupled to the hydrodynamic predictions, from both MFIX and other leading commercial multiphase solvers. The MFIX and C3M models are recognized as leading research tools in the area of reacting gas-solids flows and both have won Federal Laboratory Awards for technology transfer. MFIX also received 2007 R&D 100 Award. 

The Carbonaceous Chemistry for Computational Modeling (C3M) helps bridge the gap between reliable chemistry and computational models of reacting, multiphase systems with the tools needed to build and understand complex chemistry models. 

At NETL, the performance estimates obtained from a computer model are being evaluated to provide the user with a clear understanding of the range and likelihood of behaviors resulting from a given variability in the operating parameters or design alternatives. Such variation in performance may result from uncertainties in the input parameters. Recent work with C3M is aimed at enabling prediction and improvements of gasification performance of low-rank coal and mixed-feed by developing a hierarchy of models quantifying uncertainty.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the U.S. -Canada Clean Energy Dialogue (CED) in February 2009 to encourage development of clean energy technologies to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change in both countries. The CED is charged with expanding clean energy research and development, developing and deploying clean energy technologies, and building a more efficient electric grid based on clean and renewable generation. The U.S. CED effort is led by DOE, and Canada’s effort is led by Environment Canada, with participation by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). 

In October 2012, NETL researchers met with their peers at the Canadian government’s Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET) facilities in Ottawa, Canada. Their goal was to identify the unique contributions each organization could make toward accelerating technology development through experimentation and simulation. CANMET has unique and flexible experimental facilities for high-pressure, high-temperature gasification and oxy-combustion. These facilities are unique in the world in their flexibility and range of operating conditions. 

NETL has unique capabilities in computational modeling of reacting, multiphase systems including the new High Performance Computer for Energy and the Environment (HPC); the most energy efficient computer of its kind and the 55th fastest computer in the world at 503 teraflops. In addition, NETL has access to and experience with the top commercial and open source computational software available today. 

Public-domain papers on gasification models and validation are being written, model validation data/approaches for several processes are being exchanged, and diagnostic approaches are being developed at unique facilities at both labs as a result of the October meeting. NETL researchers are working to formalize a CRADA with CANMET. As part of this agreement, researchers would work together to form new chemistry models that capture the unique chemistry occurring at the extreme conditions in the CANMET equipment and incorporate that as part of the C3M program. This will significantly speed up development of gasification technology as C3M will be open to industry and the models will be published in open literature. 


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