Microwave-driven plasma gasification technology has the potential to produce clean energy from municipal and industrial solid wastes. It can generate temperatures above 2000 K (as high as 30,000 K) in a reactor, leading to complete combustion and reduction of toxic byproducts. Characterizing complex processes inside such a system is however challenging. In previous studies, simulations using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) produced reproducible results, but the simulations are tedious and involve assumptions. In this study, we propose machine-learning models that can be used in tandem with CFD, to accelerate high-fidelity fluid simulation, improve turbulence modeling, and enhance reduced-order models. A two-dimensional microwave-driven plasma gasification reactor was developed in ANSYS (Ansys, Canonsburg, PA, USA) Fluent (a CFD tool), to create 644 (geometry and temperature) datasets for training six machine-learning (ML) models. When fed with just geometry datasets, these ML models were able to predict the proportion of the reactor area with temperature above 2000 K. This temperature level is considered a benchmark to prevent formation of undesirable byproducts. The ML model that achieved highest prediction accuracy was the feed forward neural network; the mean absolute error was 0.011. This novel machine-learning model can enable future optimization of experimental microwave plasma gasification systems for application in waste-to-energy.
Sedej, O., Mbonimpa, E., Sleight, T., & Slagley, J. (2022). Application of Machine Learning to Predict the Performance of an EMIPG Reactor Using Data from Numerical Simulations. Energies, 15(7), 2559. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15072559