Advanced Process Simulation
NETL's Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulator (APECS) is first-of-a-kind
software that helps improve performance of advanced fossil fuel power plants.
APECS has the computing power to provide the high level of accuracy and detail
needed so engineers can better understand and optimize fluid flow (from combusted
coal), heat and mass transfer, and chemical reactions that drive overall plant
performance. APECS was developed by NETL computational scientists and engineers
in collaboration with R&D technology partners, and won a 2004 R&D 100
The APECS system provides a wide variety of analytical and visualization tools
to optimize plant performance with respect to fluid flow behavior in key equipment
such as combustors, gasifiers, heat exchangers, gas turbines, and fuel cell
stacks. It combines steady-state simulation of fluid processes with high-fidelity
equipment models. This combination effectively ensures optimal power plant
performance by matching physical properties and reaction rates in both types
APECS is playing a key role in the design of FutureGen, an initiative to build
the world's first coal-based electricity and hydrogen production power plant
that integrates carbon capture and storage (sequestration). When operational,
the prototype will be the cleanest fossil fuel-fired power plant in the world.
APECS simulations, combined with advanced visualization and high-performance
computing, are helping NETL system analysts optimize FutureGen's performance
Integrated APECS tools enable system designers
to optimize advanced plant performance processes
Using APECS, the combination of high-fidelity process and computational fluid
dynamics (CFD) simulations of the 275-MW FutureGen plant facilitates technology
development by reducing pilot/demonstration design time, and lowering the cost
and technical risk involved in developing such a facility.
APECS also is being used to simulate the performance of solid oxide fuel cell
systems used as auxiliary power units (APU) in transportation applications.
APECS is helping to optimize overall APU efficiency with respect to local fluid
flow, heat and mass transfer, electrochemical reactions, and the flow of current
throughout fuel cell stacks, using detailed three-dimensional, steady-state
CFD models. This research supports DOE partners in the Solid State Energy Conversion
Alliance (SECA) program who are developing cost-effective fuel cell power systems.
The APECS framework facilitates the seamless integration of process simulators
( e.g. , Aspen Plus) with various CFD equipment models ( e.g. ,
FLUENT), custom equipment models, and fast, reduced-order models (ROMs). Plug-and-play
interoperability among device-scale/equipment models, physical properties models,
and reaction kinetics models is achieved by using process industry-standard CAPE-OPEN
interfaces to integrate shared data generated from modeling runs into a common
equipment database, as shown in the diagram below.
APECS integrates process simulators and equipment
models using open software interfaces
Demand for APECS virtual simulations is international in scope. The Advanced
Process Simulation team is collaborating with United Kingdom researchers to
allow the UK 's Virtual Plant Demonstration Model (VPDM) to interoperate with
APECS through compatible, open standards-based software platforms.
NETL partners in APECS development include: Fluent Inc., Reaction Engineering
International, Aspen Technology, Inc., Alstom Power, Carnegie Mellon University
, Iowa State University, and West Virginia University.
- CAPE-OPEN standard software allows for plug-and-play
interoperability of unit operation models, physical properties, and reaction
- Configuration Wizard prepares equipment models
as CAPE-OPEN compliant models for use in process simulation.
- Model Database stores and manages equipment models,
including CFD, custom, and fast ROMs based on previously-computed CFD solutions.
- Model Selection GUI (graphical user interface) displays
equipment models from the database to associate with blocks instantiated
or added as examples on the process flowsheet.
- Model Edit GUI displays equipment model parameters
and defines flexible and powerful solution strategies.
- Integration Controller uses a CAPE-OPEN COM/CORBA
bridge to enable serial/ parallel execution of high-fidelity equipment models
on distributed heterogeneous computers.
- CFD Viewer displays, within the process simulator,
the results of CFD simulations conducted as a part of a co-simulation.
- Analysis Tools provide design specifications,
case studies, sensitivity analyses, stochastic analyses, and optimization,
including multi-objective optimization.
For more information contact: Steve