Madison, Wisconsin—Dec 15, 2021—Convergent Science, Argonne National Laboratory, and Aramco Americas: Aramco Research Center – Detroit received the 2021 HPCwire Editors’ Choice Award for the Best Use of HPC in Industry. The three recipients were nominated for their work using high-performance computing (HPC)-enabled high-fidelity simulations to evaluate engine cold operations with the goal of improving combustion robustness and reducing emissions from propulsion systems. 

In modern combustion vehicles, the majority of emissions are produced under cold-start conditions, when aftertreatment devices are not yet heated to their necessary working temperatures. In order to mitigate these emissions, the ignition and combustion processes at cold conditions must be well understood to develop innovative emission reduction solutions. Researchers from Convergent Science, Argonne, and Aramco Americas employed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and HPC to accurately simulate the combustion process and improve combustion efficiency under cold operating conditions. With higher combustion efficiency, there is a more complete combustion event, which reduces the amount of some criteria pollutant emissions.

The team first worked to characterize model uncertainties induced by cold conditions using HPC-enabled high-fidelity CONVERGE simulations. Characterizing these uncertainties allowed the engineers to develop more accurate boundary conditions and physical models for cold operating conditions. 

Next, the team used the carefully characterized physical models and boundary conditions to perform an accelerated design optimization study on the Theta supercomputer housed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility. 

Spark plug ignition assistance-enhanced in-cylinder flame and combustion development in a heavy-duty GCI engine

“In our study, we are developing ignition assistances for a heavy-duty gasoline compression ignition (GCI) engine to ensure a reliable cold start,” said Yuanjiang Pei, Lab Scientist, Computational Modeling Team, Aramco Research Center – Detroit. “Through our design optimization study, we were able to achieve a 26% improvement in combustion efficiency at cold operating conditions for this engine.”

While the team looked specifically at a GCI engine, the framework they developed could be extended to other kinds of engines. Overall, this project laid a strong foundation for developing future low-climate-impact propulsion systems.

“This joint work with Aramco and Convergent Science on GCI cold start is a prime example of how the industry can leverage the HPC resources and expertise at DOE national laboratories to solve problems of national importance,” said Muhsin Ameen, Research Scientist, Argonne. “In addition to optimizing the engine design for GCI cold start, the lessons learned from this project have established best practices for modeling cold start in heavy duty engines.”

“Developing sustainable propulsion technologies is of the utmost importance, and improving internal combustion engine vehicles is one of the fastest ways to reduce emissions from the transportation industry,” said Kelly Senecal, Co-Owner and Vice President, Convergent Science. “We’re making great strides in that direction by collaborating with the brilliant engineers at Aramco and Argonne and making use of the cutting-edge technology available at Argonne’s facilities.”

Flame kernel initiation and velocity flow field near the spark gap

The interdisciplinary team has worked together on previous projects with the aim of developing cleaner propulsion systems. In 2019, the trio won a HPCwire Award for using HPC and artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate the design of a clean, highly efficient engine and another HPCwire Award in 2020 for using supercomputers to resolve micron-scale manufacturing defects in fuel injectors resulting in significantly better mixing predictions.  

“Our collaborative work is a great example of bridging fundamental and applied research aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the transportation sector,” said Ghaithan AlMuntasheri, Director, Research and Development, Aramco Americas.

About Convergent Science

Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, Convergent Science is a global leader in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software. Our mission is to enable our customers to perform revolutionary CFD simulations by creating accurate, versatile, user-friendly software and providing unparalleled support.

Our flagship product, CONVERGE, is an innovative CFD software that eliminates the grid generation bottleneck through autonomous meshing and features a suite of advanced physical models, fully coupled detailed chemistry, and the ability to easily accommodate moving geometries. CONVERGE is revolutionizing the CFD industry and shifting the paradigm toward predictive CFD.

For more information about Convergent Science please visit


Published December 15, 2021