Simulation in Energy

Ansys FEA and CFD engineering analysis software have been widely used in all power generation applications.

In addition to engineering simulation software and services, SimuTech Group is a leader in providing blade frequency testing, moment weighing, and strain gage & telemetry services to the power generation industry.

Common Power System Simulation Elements

Design ElementsChallengesSimulation Benefits
Steam Turbines
  • Part life/erosion
  • Costly downtime for failed equipment
  • Thermal stresses
  • Determine and then design for likely nucleation and condensation regions
  • Maximize part life through optimizing fatigue/creep trade-offs
Motors & Generators
  • Need to dissipate large thermal loads with a minimum of parasitic power losses
  • Generating a clean voltage signal
  • Determine generator characteristics before creating a physical prototype:
    • Subtransient reactance
    • Open-circuit saturation curve
    • Output voltage signal harmonic distortion
    • Heat transfer in air passages
Balance of Plant:
  • Erosion/Corrosion
  • Poor performance
  • Fatigue failure
  • Maximize efficiency
  • Design for uneven flow distribution
  • Reduce erosion in virtual prototypes
Transmission Systems
  • Failures can affect thousands of customers
  • Keeping electric field strengths within specifications
  • Designing for complex failure modes
  • Simulate complex coupled physics during the design process
  • Improve safety and reliability

Coal Power Generation Simulations

Design ElementChallengesSimulation Benefits
Pulverizers and Classifiers
  • Control product fineness for low carbon loss, minimal NOx
  • Balance competing forces of mill
    • Efficiency
    • Throughput
    • Power consumption
  • Reduce design time by:
    • Understanding flow patterns to improve design
    • Predicting performance and erosion behavior for varying designs
    • Predicting dynamic behavior, stress, strain for rotating parts
  • NOx reduction
  • Unburned carbon (LOI)
  • Fatigue and creep from thermal stresses in coal nozzle
  • Reduce design effort and field tests by
    • Predicting temperature, NOx, and LOI with varying fuel, load, swirl
    • Predicting thermal loads and stresses for different designs
  • Maintaining stable flame under varying load conditions
  • Pollutant formation control
  • Maintaining proper radiation and convection properties with retrofitted low NOx burners
  • Optimizing retrofitted air staging
  • Minimizing water wall corrosion
  • Designing optimal spray system for Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR)
  • Ensuring retrofit success by predicting
  • Flame shape and thermal loads
  • Impact of various air staging methods
  • Corrosion prone regions
  • SNCR local NOx reduction
  • Avoiding further downtime in a trial-and-error approach
Fluidized Beds
  • Erosion
  • Maximizing gas-solid contact
  • Avoiding channeling
  • Maximizing heat transfer to immersed tubes
  • Creep and fatigue due to thermal stresses
  • Avoid costly problems after manufacture by:
    • Predicting erosion in virtual prototypes
    • Predicting channeling problems
    • Predicting thermal stresses
  • Optimize heat transfer
  • Ensuring complete reaction
  • Varying fuels, loads
  • Thermal stresses and heat transfer
  • Carbon capture
  • Gasifier design
    • Impact of inlet positions and flow rates on performance
    • Impact of fuel changes
    • Calculate and design for scale-up effects
  • Minimizing erosion and fly-ash buildup
  • Optimizing heat transfer to incoming water
  • Determine areas of likely erosion and fly-ash buildup early in design phase
  • Make flow distribution modifications that will resolve problems before manufacture
Flue Ducts
  • Uneven flow distribution impacting pollution control equipment performance
  • Air leakage
  • Sagging and deformation
  • Optimize vanes and turns for flow distribution prior to manufacturing
  • Ensure deformations will be within limits by testing/optimizing design specs
Selective Catalytic Reduction Systems
  • Poor ammonia/NOx mixing
  • Ammonia slip
  • Hopper fly ash capture efficiency
  • Plugged catalysts
  • Thermal stresses within catalyst beds
  • Retrofit to improve poorly performing existing SCR units without resorting to a trial-and-error approach with physical prototypes. Predict:
    • Ammonia spray distribution, evaporation, and mixing
    • Flow distribution into the catalyst beds
    • Local NOx concentrations
    • Overall system performance
    • Ash and particulate distribution, and hopper performance
    • Thermal stresses
  • Reduce the design cost and increase the performance of new SCR designs
Sulfur Dioxide Scrubbers
  • Poor distribution of spray and/or flue gas
  • Designing spray nozzle placement
  • Improve retrofit and new scrubber performance by using virtual prototyping, predicting:
    • Air and spray droplet flow distribution throughout the scrubber
    • Local sulfur absoprtion and concentration
    • Droplet-wall interaction
Particulate Control
  • Short life of systems and components
  • High cleaning frequency
  • Often caused by:
    • Uneven flow distribution
    • Uneven loading of baghouses, filters, and electrostatic precipitators
  • Determine expected loadings prior to field implementation
  • Determine stresses on components
  • Use results to optimize ducts and turning vanes
  • Few shutdowns
  • Shorter cleaning frequencies
  • Longer bag and plate life

Gas Turbine Power Generation Simulations

Design ElementsChallengesSimulation Benefits
Inlet Systems
  • Fogging and cooling
    • Delivering a uniform temperature to the compressor
    • Ensure complete evaporation of spray
  • Avoiding compressor fatigue caused by non-uniform air flow distribution
  • Icing of air filters
  • Design with virtual prototypes
    • Calculating motion, evaporation, mixing and thermal impact of spray
    • Simulate non-uniformities of inlet coolers or heaters
Shaft and Gear Systems
  • Ensuring rotational stability
  • Avoiding interferences caused by rotation-induced strains
  • Predict critical speeds, whirl, stability, base excitation and transient responses
  • Seamless integration between analysis and optimization tools
  • Including Design for Six-Sigma
  • Off-design performance
    • Avoiding surge over a range of power settings
    • Flow separation
    • Flow-induced vibration
  • Understand rotational and flow-induced vibration modes before building physical prototypes
  • Simple extension of quasi-1D tools to full 3D physics for design refinement
    • Turbo design environment
    • Investigation of separation and tip gap characteristics
    • Installation effects
  • Maximizing thermal energy generation while minimizing NOx and CO emissions
  • Designing liner and other components for proper thermal load
  • Thermal stresses during “staging” or at partial loads
  • Make early design changes necessary to keep creep and thermal stresses within limits under all operational conditions
  • Optimize combustion and reduce emission levels with virtual prototyping
  • Cooling blades sufficiently without sacrificing performance
  • Flexibility in design for partial power loads
  • Flow separation
  • Rotation and flow-induced vibration
  • Gas flow in secondary flow passages
  • Design for non-ideal fluid and structural effects of separation, heat transfer, and blade cooling
  • Flexibility of connecting blade passage analysis with secondary flow passages and cooling effects in a user environment geared towards turbomachinery simulation
  • Design for rotational stability
Acoustic Enclosures
  • Designing ventilation systems to avoid combustible mixtures caused by gas leaks
  • Improve safety and reduce design costs
    • Test and improve ventilation designs under various leakage conditions before manufacturing

Design ElementsChallengesSimulation Benefits
  • Determining accurate seismic loads and responses
  • Providing accurate safety analyses to regulators
  • Estimating hydrogen release hazards
  • Avoid over-designing by performing accurate seismic analyses
  • Accident simulation when 1-D tools are insufficient
    • Impact of accidents on structural integrity
    • Fracture mechanics
    • Emergency core cooling system behavior
    • Showing jet-strike survivability
    • Hydrogen dispersion within containment
Coolant Pumps
  • Cavitation
  • Installation effects not taken into account by original design
  • Understanding performance in off-design (start-up and accident) conditions
  • Understand the impact of installation effects before deployment
  • Optimize performance by determining inlet and outlet flow angles and separation patterns
  • Reduce the number of hardware prototypes needed in the pump design and installation process
  • Allows parametric investigation of scale-up effects for these extremely large pumps, which is not possible through testing, but straightforward with simulation.
Reactor Pressure Vessels
  • Safety analysis for complex stratified flow
  • Code-checking for stress analysis in a timely fashion
  • Supply regulators with thermal hydraulic predictions for a wide range of LOCA scenarios
  • Stratification caused by thermal variations across cold legs
  • Use a pressure vessel design tool with built-in code checks
Fuel Assemblies
  • Designing for seismic safety without over-designing
  • Optimizing for thermal transfer in operating and LOCA conditions
  • Designing for flow-induced vibration
  • Limiting cladding fretting and wear
  • Reduce design time and physical prototypes through simulation
  • Spring design
  • Assembly seismic vibration analysis
  • Mixing vane design
  • Fluid-structure interaction simulation
  • Designing steam generation and spray cooling system for optimal responsiveness to pressure changes
  • Design time for code checks
  • Cost savings through virtual prototyping of new designs and troubleshooting for existing units
    • Heat transfer and phase change due to heating
    • Natural circulation
    • Spray distribution
    • Local condensation rates
  • Rapid vessel design with built
Steam Generators
  • Tube vibration
  • Accident analysis under natural convection conditions
  • Design for optimal heat transfer
Reduce expensive and time-consuming scaled test loop experiments

  • Investigate and optimize tube vibration sensitivity to flow conditions
  • Extend test results from experimental to full scale conditions
  • Confirm results from system level tools
  • Investigate installation effects
Passive Safety Systems
  • Inaccuracy of system-level tool safety analyses when natural circulation and mixing are fundamental to the process
  • Scale-up of parametric relationships from lab to full size
  • Gain physical insight about flow structures to guide safety system design
  • Generate new parametric relationships to embed in system-level tools
  • Extend behavior prediction from experimental to full scale conditions
Generation IV Reactors
  • Modeling high temperature gaseous flows (sometimes involving chemical reactions) with codes designed for water and steam
  • Modeling natural circulation and mixing in 1-D
  • Scale-up of parametric relationships from lab to full size
  • Model the full flow physics of gas-cooled reactors
  • Gain physical insight about flow structures to guide safety system design
  • Generate new parametric relationships to embed in system-level tools
  • Extend behavior prediction from experimental to full scale conditions
Waste Storage and HandlingMeeting regulatory requirements for repositories and transport and storage devices

  • Thermal management
  • Structural impacts
Cost-efficient design and troubleshooting of storage devices and repositories to comply with regulatory requirements

  • Structural integrity during container impact
  • Cooling efficiency from forced or natural convection and conduction
  • Pool fire thermal predictions

Design ElementsChallengesSimulation Benefits
Wind Power
  • Seismic load calculations and assurance
  • Fluid-structure interaction of lightweight composite structures
  • Maximizing efficiency of turbines and turbine placement
  • Generator design and analysis
  • Transmission Systems
  • Straightforward linear and non-linear vibration analysis
    • Integration with other standard tools (ASAS integration with Flex5)
  • Coupled physics for true virtual prototyping
    • Electromagnetics, thermal/structural, fluid/thermal
  • Optimize turbine output and placement
    • Wind speed prediction over complex terrain
Hydro Power
  • Turbine design
  • Minimizing flow separation in ducts under a wide range of flow rates
  • Fish protection
    • Fish-friendly turbines
    • Maximizing oxygen levels
    • Aeration
    • Fish ladders
  • Dam design
    • Seismic loads
  • Structural stability assessments
  • Understand the impact of installation effects before deployment
  • Optimize performance by determining inlet and outlet flow angles and separation patterns
  • Reduce the number of hardware prototypes needed in the pump design and installation process
  • Allows parametric investigation of scale-up effects for these extremely large pumps, which is not possible through testing, but straightforward with simulation.
Solar Power
  • Wind loads on panels and resulting vibrations
  • The search for cheaper manufacturing methods
  • Designing for thermal loads
  • Maximizing efficiency
  • Design to minimize fluid-structure interaction with virtual prototypes
  • Simulate and optimize manufacturing methods
  • Predict thermal loads to make necessary design refinements before physical prototyping
  • Maximize heat exchanger and power conversion efficiencies for solar-thermal systems
  • Understanding the impact of fuel changes
  • Slagging, fouling, and corrosion
  • Air staging and emissions control
  • Grate combustion
  • The capability to design furnaces for a variety of fuels
    • Understanding scale-up implications
  • Understand air staging implications on emissions, heat transfer and ash
    • Access to biomass combustion models
Fuel Cells
  • Channel design that optimizes distribution of oxygen (hydrogen) to the cathode (anode)
  • Water management
  • Thermal stresses and cooling plate design
  • Materials
    • High costs
    • Property variation
  • Space limitations
  • Probabilistic design in virtual prototypes
    • Design for Six Sigma
  • Minimize costly physical prototypes using analysis based on first principle physics (electrochemistry, fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, structural mechanics)