Story tips from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory — March 2011

A process called gasification can turn carbonaceous fuels — coal, petroleum, or biomass — into syngas, a cleaner-burning fuel mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

Scientists from the National Energy Technology Laboratory are concluding a three-year project using supercomputers at Oak Ridge and Argonne national laboratories for simulations to reduce the cost and time of building commercial-scale gasifiers. The efforts will inform the design of advanced technologies to supply clean, reliable and affordable electricity.

NETL’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, a cost-shared venture of government and industry, aims to employ a commercial-scale gasifier system to sequester 90 percent of the carbon from coal with minimal impact to electricity costs.

“High-performance computing is allowing us to reveal and study features of the gas — solids flow in a gasifier to a degree never before possible, experimentally or computationally,” said Madhava Syamlal, principal investigator of the project.

[Contact: Dawn Levy, (865) 576-6448; levyd@ornl.gov]

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