[en] Biomass combustion is a well-established process to produce energy that offers a credible alternative to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel. To optimize the process of biomass combustion, numerical simulation is a less expensive and time-effective approach than the experimental method. However, biomass combustion involves intricate physical phenomena that must be modeled (and validated) carefully, in the fuel bed and in the surrounding gas. With this level of complexity, these simulations require the use of High-Performance Computing (HPC) platforms and expertise, which are usually not affordable for manufacturing SMEs.
In this work, we developed a parallel simulation tool for the simulation of biomass furnaces that relies on a parallel coupling between Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Discrete Element Method (DEM). This approach is computation-intensive but provides accurate and detailed results for biomass combustion with a moving fuel bed. Our implementation combines FOAM-extend (for the gas phase) parallelized with MPI, and XDEM (for the solid particles) parallelized with OpenMP, to take advantage of HPC hardware. We also carry out a thorough performance evaluation of our implementation using an industrial biomass furnace setup. Additionally, we present a fully automated workflow that handles all steps from the user input to the analysis of the results. Hundreds of parameters can be modified, including the furnace geometry and fuel settings. The workflow prepares the simulation input, delegates the computing-intensive simulation to an HPC platform, and collects the results. Our solution is integrated into the Digital Marketplace of the CloudiFacturing EU project and is directly available to SMEs via a Cloud portal.
As a result, we provide a cutting-edge simulation of a biomass furnace running on HPC. With this tool, we demonstrate how HPC can benefit engineering and manufacturing SMEs, and empower them to compute and solve problems that cannot be tackled without.
Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, United States