Honors Gallery

VE-PSI: virutal engineering process simulator interface

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2010

Award Type:

Region: Mid-Atlantic

National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) - Morgantown, WV

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and its R&D collaboration partners, Ames Laboratory and Reaction Engineering International, developed Virtual Engineering Process Simulator Interface (VE-PSI) software to facilitate the collaborative design of nextgeneration energy plants within a virtual engineering environment.

Meeting the increasing demand for clean and affordable energy while addressing climate change is arguably the most important challenge facing the world today. Using VE-PSI, energy plant design engineers can integrate, analyze, and optimize a wide variety of modeling and simulation data within an immersive, interactive, three-dimensional (3D) virtual environment. Such capabilities provide engineers with the ability to create virtual prototypes of new plant designs more quickly and efficiently, and at less cost than ever before, as well as improve existing designs before expending time and materials on physical prototypes. At NETL, system analysts are applying the VEPSI technology to develop high-efficiency, near-zero emission plants such as the DOE’s FutureGen coal-fired, gasification-based plant with combined-cycle electricity generation, and capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide emissions.

To facilitate effective technology transfer, VEPSI is offered as open-source software within the Virtual Engineering Suite (VE-Suite), and it is available for download at http://www. vesuite.org. This has allowed flow of the technology to academia, national laboratories, and industry, as well as enabled a reverse flow of technology into VE-PSI from external researchers. At the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL), researchers are applying VE-PSI to develop integrated virtual engineering simulations for bioenergy applications. Together with researchers from Ames, NETL is applying VE-PSI to couple Aspen Plus® process simulations and FLUENT® CFD equipment models with 3D plant-wide CAD models of integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) systems in VE-Suite software. At ALSTOM Power, a major worldwide industrial player in equipment and services for power generation, design engineers are applying VE-PSI for a wide variety of advanced energy applications, including natural gas combined cycles, coal-fired oxycombustion power plants, and chemical looping combustion and gasification systems