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American Institute of Chemical Engineers Honors DOE Researcher

August 6, 2009 - 1:00pm


Washington, DC - For his efforts in modeling and simulating fluid-particle flows, a researcher at the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has been selected to receive the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' (AIChE) Fluidized Processing Recognition Award.

AIChE presents the award every two years to an AIChE member "who has made significant contribution to the science and technology of fluidization or fluidized processes and who has shown leadership in the engineering community." This year the award goes to Dr. Madhava Syamlal, Focus Area Leader for Computational and Basic Sciences at NETL. Dr. Syamlal will receive his award during AIChE's 2009 annual meeting set for November 8-13, 2009, in Nashville, Tenn.

"I have devoted more than 20 years of my research career to solving problems associated with gas-particle flows," said Dr. Syamlal, who joined the U.S. Department of Energy in 2004 after holding several key research positions at Fluent Inc. and other companies. "As such, I am grateful to be recognized by my peers at AIChE."

Dr. Syamlal has focused on strategies to overcome problems associated with models of gas-particle flows. His research has led to the development of numerical solutions in use today to simulate fluid-particle flows. Dr. Syamlal's award notification stated that his efforts "have changed the way we all do our engineering in particle technology."

Dr. Syamlal's body of work resulted in the development of an open-source code, called MFIX, which is used worldwide as a standard for scientists conducting research related to fluid-particle flow modeling and simulation. MFIX, which stands for Multiphase Flow with Interphase Exchanges, is a general-purpose computer code developed at NETL to describe the hydrodynamics, heat transfer, and chemical reactions in fluid-solids systems. MFIX has been applied successfully at NETL in modeling advanced gasifiers.

MFIX's applicability has gone way beyond chemical engineering processes to include geological applications. For example, MFIX is currently being used to model volcanic flows and to explore multiphase dynamics at DOE's Yucca Mountain project, established as the site for the safe, permanent storage of high-level radioactive waste.