Renewable energy storage

The increased necessity to obtain energy from other sources than conventional fossil fuels has led to the growing interest in solar energy. The problem with the proposed technology is that it can only provide power during the day and therefore requires some sort of storage system, if power is to be supplied throughout the day and night. A number of storage systems exist, but the one of particular interest is packed rock beds. DEM models of rock beds were developed through both experimental and numerical procedures. The research focused on the potential of constructing self-supporting tunnels within the rock beds in order to improve the air flow through the bed by minimizing the pressure drop.

The rock bed showing vertical tunnels of varying size

Mixing & blending

Mixing was investigated numerically and the results compared to experiments. Conical and V-blenders were used with different initial loading conditions and the results compared.

Mixing using a V-blender (left), conical blender with vertical loading (centre) and horizontal loading (right)

Rock fall protection

Wire mesh is often used for rock fall protection in mountainous areas. In this project the effectiveness of such a system was investigated using DEM. The wire mesh was modelled by bonding spherical particles together and the stiffness and strength parameters calibrated using laboratory experiments. The impact of rock particles on an installed mesh could be simulated and its ability
to stop the rocks evaluated.

A rock fall protection system (left) and the DEM model showing a single particle impact resulting in a broken mesh