Discover Better Designs, Faster.

Simulating Systems for Energy and Power

Manufacturers of industrial machinery face the challenge of fulfilling increasing demand for economically viable energy & power as well as tighter governmental regulations. Fortunately, they can rely on STAR-CCM+ and design exploration to develop better performing, more efficient and durable products.

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Generating Performance Improvements

Find out how multidisciplinary simulation and design exploration can help to solve the toughest challenges that the energy sector has to offer.


STAR-CCM+ offers the best approach, allowing full scale CFD simulation of power generation products under real operating conditions, and opening the door to better more efficient, robust and durable designs.

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To simulate the power & energy produced by power plant machinery involving natural gas, gas blends, synthetic gases, liquid fuels, or coal, STAR-CCM+ can be used to accurately predict: flow rates and pressure drops so as to maximize efficiency and reliability; flow-related temperatures and system-level thermal performance to avoid hot spots, thermal stress and fatigue; and combustion behavior including complex chemistry to manage flame dynamics and reduce emissions.

Multidisciplinary analysis allows increasing the efficiency and reliability of the Nuclear Power Industry. Together, multidisciplinary simulation and design exploration can support thermal hydraulic virtual reactor analysis, safety simulations and improved reactor operation.

To help produce the most efficient pumps, pump-turbines, and pumped energy storage systems; marine hydrokinetic (MHK) devices; and hydro turbines such as Francis, Kaplan, and Pelton turbines -- whether operating at their Best Efficiency Point (BEP) or across wide-ranging operating conditions -- STAR-CCM+ can be used to accurately predict hydraulic flows (including the important effects of flows through small clearances), head, pressure pulsations, vibrations, recirculation and leakages, as well as the likelihood of cavitation.

To help harness sustainable energy, STAR-CCM+ can be used: to simulate the aerodynamics of single wind turbines as well as the thermal management needed for nacelle cooling; to optimizing the layout of multiple wind turbines in wind farms by understanding the impact of turbulent wakes and terrain effects on the annual energy produced (AEP); to predict wave effects, mooring strategies, and platform dynamics associated with off-shore wind turbines; and to simulate direct solar steam (DISS) generating systems.

In Depth

Demand for accelerated innovation with energy and power machinery motivates multidisciplinary simulation.

Costly physical testing and overly simplified calculations sees rise of high-fidelity, multidisciplinary simulation to increase machine efficiency and reliability, and decrease emissions.

As the demand for energy continually increases worldwide, each nation seeks to define its own unique energy portfolio involving a mix of fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable energy.  The common goal: to produce enough energy while striking an acceptable balance between environmental sustainability, technical feasibility, and economic viability. Finding such compromise-solutions serves as a major driver for innovation among manufacturers of energy- and power-producing equipment.

Better Designs, Faster.

Our customers in the Energy & Power industry typically say they want their power-generation machinery to have maximum efficiency, knowing that even small increases in efficiency can yield significant economic gains for the manufacturers, for their clients, and for energy consumers around the world.
Additionally, they want their machinery to provide maximum reliability, durability, safety, and fuel flexibility; while also having minimum emissions, vibrations, and thermal hot spots; as well as limited acoustics.
Unfortunately, to develop better-performing machinery, trade-offs are almost always required.  For instance, higher operating temperatures (which can improve efficiency for some power-generating equipment, such as gas turbines) are often directly associated with higher emissions (of NOx, for example).

+ with Optimate+ or HEEDS can help energy & power engineers balance these multiple objectives in order to identify acceptable trade-offs and discover better designs faster by providing:

  • Better process automation through robust meshing (and re-meshing) of realistic systems involving complex 3D CAD geometry, and efficiently solving to predict the performance of numerous design variants
  • Faster simulation throughput based on efficient transient computations, outstanding solution scaling, efficient licensing, and effective management of heterogeneous computing environments
  • Higher-fidelity simulations such as those involving multiphase flows, combustion, Harmonic Balance, or the integrated computation of coupled or conjugate heat transfer (CHT) between fluid and solid regions
  • More intelligent design exploration through automated hybrid global and local search
  • Complete sensitivity and robustness assessment


Some Applications for CFD in Energy & Power

  • Turbomachinery & Rotating Systems

Includes gas turbines, steam turbines, hydro turbines, tidal turbines, pumps, compressors, fans and blowers, wind turbines, etc.
With pumps & hydro turbines, for example, STAR-CCM+ can be used to accurately predict pressure (head), specifically net positive suction head (NPSH), flow separation and recirculation, cavitation and erosion.  In the case of gas turbines, blade cooling is an important design area to increase efficiency while maintaining reliability & long-life.

  • Combustion & Heating/Cooling

Includes burners, furnaces, gas turbine combustors, boilers, kilns, fluidized beds, gas-fired water heaters, liquid-cooled or air-cooled heat exchangers (or air coolers), heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), etc.  
For these systems, STAR-CCM+ can predict combustion efficiency, fuel mixing effectiveness/uniformity, flame stability, maximum temperatures, temperature uniformity, hot/cold fluid mixing, air/fuel mixing, as well as combustion completeness, and CO and NOx emissions.

  • Auxiliary Systems and Balance of Plant (BOP) 

Includes coal handling & separation devices (e.g., pulverizers, classifiers, cyclone separators), filters such as baghouses, inlets & outlets/exhausts, diffusors, ducts and turning vanes, emission-reduction devices such as SCRs, silencers and other noise-reduction devices, etc.
For these systems, STAR-CCM+ can be used to overcome design challenges pertaining to flow uniformity, pressure loss, excessive noise, or separator efficiency.

  • Generators and Transformers

For these systems, STAR-CCM+ can help design effective thermal management strategies to prevent them from overheating.

Case Studies

Don't Just Simulate, Innovate!

See how our customers have been using our products to generate design improvements and stay ahead of the innovation race.