Biomass flow modeling

INL and NREL researchers have developed various numerical modeling approaches that either model the motion of individual particles or treat the bulk solid material as a continuum. For individual particles, discrete element method (DEM) is a widely-accepted technique used to study particle mechanics and solids flows. For bulk solid material as a continuum, finite-element and finite-volume methods (FEM/FVM) are available. INL and NREL researchers have expertise in both types of modeling, including DEM simulations of non-rigid particles for granular materials and their mechanical interactions. These models are readily applicable to granular biomass particles that have complicated macro- and micro-structures, e.g., different particle sizes and shapes as well as variations of individual particle mechanical properties. 

These models require high performance computing capabilities available at NREL and INL. NREL’s computing resources include Peregrine, which has a total of 58,752 Intel Xeon processor cores and is capable of 2.26 PetaFLOPS. INL’s computing resources include Falcon and Fission, as well as a host of smaller specialized systems, including state of the art immersive visualization resources. Falcon and Fission together boast over 30,000 processor cores and approximately 600 TeraFLOPS.