Hierarchical calibration and validation of computational fluid dynamics models for solid sorbent-based carbon capture

Canhai Lai, Zhijie Xu, Wenxiao Pan, Xin Sun, Curtis Storlie, Peter Marcy, Jean François Dietiker, Tingwen Li, James Spenik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


To quantify the predictive confidence of a device scale solid sorbent-based carbon capture design where there is no direct experimental data available, a hierarchical validation methodology is first proposed. In this hierarchy, a sequence of increasingly complex "unit problems" are validated using a statistical calibration framework. This paper describes the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) multi-phase reactive flow simulations and the associated data flows within each unit problem. Each validation requires both simulated and physical data, so the bench-top experiments used in each increasingly complex stage were carefully designed to follow the same operating conditions as the simulation scenarios. A Bayesian calibration procedure is employed and the posterior model parameter distributions obtained at one unit-problem level are used as prior distributions for the same parameters in the next-tier simulations. Overall, the results have demonstrated that the calibrated multiphase reactive flow models within MFIX can be used to capture the bed pressure, temperature, CO2 capture capacity, and kinetics with quantitative accuracy. The CFD modeling methodology and associated uncertainty quantification techniques presented herein offer a solid framework for estimating the predictive confidence in the virtual scale up of a larger carbon capture device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-406
Number of pages19
JournalPowder Technology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Bayesian calibration
  • Carbon capture
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Hierarchical model validation methodology
  • MFIX
  • Multiphase reactive flow models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering


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