Computational simulations and optimization of flow and temperature distributions in a large-scale power plant building

Taewoo Lee, Hardeep Singh, Junyoung Lee, Hyo Min Jeong, Douglas Sturm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


For reduced carbon dioxide and pollutant emission, it is often as effective, if not more, to minimize energy use on the consumption side, as to maximize the efficiency on the power supply side. In this study, we seek to fully characterize and optimize the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) electrical energy use in a large-scale structure: a power-plant building that houses boilers, turbines and other operating equipment. We use a fully three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of this building, measuring 80 m in width, 120 m in length and 60 m in height, replicating the complex internal and external geometries, in order to simulate the flow and temperature distributions under a wide range of ambient and HVAC operating conditions. The flow patterns and temperature distributions in this building structure are computationally simulated in detail, wherein the computed temperatures are validated through spot measurements. The detailed understanding of the flow patterns and temperature distributions then allows for optimization of the HVAC configuration. Identification of the problematic flow patterns and temperature mis-distributions, leads to some corrective measures, for optimization of the temperature distributions. The basic principles of fluid mechanics and heat transfer, applied in conjunction with CFD simulation results, can result in substantial improvements under both hot and cold-weather conditions, in most cases with relatively simple, implementable modifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-349
Number of pages9
JournalBuilding Simulation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • CFD
  • HVAC
  • large building
  • optimization
  • temperature distributions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


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