Numerical simulation of accidental fires with a spillage of oil in large industrial buildings

The Company

BAC Engineering Consultancy Group is an SME result of the merge of two engineering consultancy groups, BOMAINPASA and CICSA.
BAC develops four main activities:

  • Civil Engineering, which includes activities in road works, rail, airports, waterworks and river hydrology, drainage and water treatment, and environment
  • Structural engineering, focusing on the field of structures. Activities include new works, rehabilitation, large equipment, and building height
  • Quality control, specializing in areas such as quality control in building and civil engineering, inspections and testing, such as non-destructive testing, auscultation and control, naval inspection (thickness measurement) and inspection of tanks (Oil & Gas)
  • R&D on prefabrication of concrete and metal structures, software development, studies and research prototypes in Fire Engineering and Wind Engineering.

Strategically, BAC has a strong international presence with permanent offices in Alger, Armenia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Qatar and Spain. Additionally, BAC has collaboration agreements with European structural engineering companies to develop activity in UK, Norway, Switzerland and France, sharing staff and knowledge for mutual benefits.


The Challenge

The objective of the project is to develop a fire engineering analysis (Performance-Based design) of the steel structure buildings that belong to the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) industrial complex in Cadarache (France), which is devoted to research in the field of Nuclear Fusion. In particular, the project will focus on the building that hosts the cryogenic system of the Tokamak, the biggest cryogenic system in the world at the moment, with 75 MW of combined cooling power (liquid Helium & liquid Nitrogen).
This building is characterized by its large size, approximately 75m long, 45m wide and 20m high. The building hosts a large number of helium and nitrogen compressors.
It is intended to carry out numeric simulations of the accidental fires that can take place inside of the building, some of them as complex as the combination of a liquid combustible spillage added to an oil cloud due to the breakage of a high pressure pipe.


The Solution

This project will be done in collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. The code to be used to perform the numerical simulations is Fire Dynamics Simulator, an open source software developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Several fire scenarios will be run in the MareNostrum supercomputer.


The Benefits

The numerical simulation of fire inside the ITER nuclear fusion complex will allow understanding the possible fire situations and their effects on the buildings in one of the most representative international projects and non-pollutant energy icon for the future generations. This study will lead to a rationalization of the use of construction materials, together with a reduction in the construction execution time and a higher degree of security of the people inside the buildings.
Currently, with its own resources the company needs several weeks of computation to simulate each fire scenario in a complex case such as the ITER buildings. The high capacity of parallelization and calculation of HPC will make possible to use fine spatial meshes and guarantee the correct resolution of the numerical simulation in a suitable time.
Thus, the adoption of HPC will allow the company to approach these demanding projects on time and with accurate results.


Companies Involved

  • End User: BAC Engineering Consultancy Group
  • HPC Expert: Barcelona Supercomputing Center