Energy and the Environment

student cleaning at wetland cleanup

Among the defining global, national and regional challenges for this century is ensuring adequate supply of energy without compromising our collective ability to sustain our changing habitat as the global human population is on a path to grow from presently some seven billion to nine billion or more.

Challenges in this broad area relate to energy production, transmission, storage and efficient use; vehicle technology, transportation systems; critical infrastructures; dynamics of ecosystems, climate change impacts and adaptation, urban systems; and others. Within many of these, Modeling and Simulation are integral to solving a variety of critically important problems. For example, computational approaches and methods, combined with analytical techniques involving, for example, advanced microscopy and neutron and x-ray light sources are revolutionizing the development of new materials, and advancing our understanding of dynamic processes at the molecular and atomic level. Understanding the dynamics of environmental systems requires models of processes that span orders of magnitude in time and space, and include the interplay among multiple physical, biological and chemical systems.  Complexity also characterizes the operation of advanced energy transmission systems, e.g., the “smart grid”. Modeling and simulation lead to more effective use and control of such systems.

Local Collaborations

Chattanooga and the region are home to a number of companies that have been interacting with UTC programs and departments, including the SimCenter, in the Energy and Environment space and our goal is to grow these interactions as we advance the SimCenter program. 

There are numerous opportunities to build on the record of accomplishments by the SimCenter in applications in the Energy & Environment space.  A short list includes the highly successful work on drag reduction devices for heavy trucks thereby assisting in improving fleet fuel economy; assisting a commercial company in achieving significant reductions in power consumption in their new carpet manufacturing machines; design optimization for wind turbines and wind turbine farms; fluid-thermo-elastic analysis and design of Solid Oxide and Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells Supported by the Office of Naval Research and a commercial company; particulate flow modeling and contaminant releases  in urban environments; modeling rural and urban flooding with contaminant transport; agent-based traffic flow simulations, etc.  In collaboration with UTC departments, the Center will advance new capabilities, such as modeling and simulation of network dynamics and others.

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