Computational Fluid Dynamics

To study the impact of local AQ measures taken at street level (noise barriers, screens, urban vegetation, varying building configurations,…) VITO uses tailored Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models.

COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS for micro-scale assessments

Key features of micro-scale modelling

  • The models offer the opportunity for micro-scale assessments of the most challenging environments, such as urban tunnel portals combined with high-rise buildings and industrial sites. And they allow focusing on the relationship between air quality, urban vegetation and urban climate.
  • An inhouse developed Python package supports the application of the OpenFOAM software via automated meshing and pre- and postprocessing of results.
  • Via an online dashboard modelling results can be made available to end-users to visualization and further analysis.  

Industrial sites




  • Industrial sites are a challenging problem due to both stack emissions and non-guided emissions at ground level.
  • CFD is used to model guided and non-guided emissions considering the 3D features of the industrial site  
  • Such level model detail allows for a detailed analyses of building downwash, pollution entrainment, and mitigation features





Tunnel outlets

Tunnel outlet computational fluid dynamics


  • Tunnel outlets remain a relevant pollution hotspot in urban areas 
  • To address this, VITO’s CFD package is linked with a fully automatized shape optimization methodology to extract the optimal location and shape of the pollution barriers.
  • The CFD model has been used to develop design guidelines of different features that can be easily applied to engineering problems. 

Non guided emissions

non guided emissions


  • Non guided emissions are typically difficult to quantify. The CFD model is applied in a reserve dispersion modelling (RDM) chain to estimate emissions strengths.  
  • The CFD mode is linked to a Bayesian inference methodology that extracts information from a network of sensors to estimate unknown sources. Both sensor and model uncertainties are taken into consideration. 

Interactive dashboards

CFD Interactive Dashboard





  • Interactive dashboards are used to show and analyze the CFD results by the clients. 
  • The dashboards are used to compare on the fly different plant configurations with different emission scenarios.
  • Forecast of pollution patterns are provided along with the option to analyze and visualize the impact of changes in emission values. 





Questions? Get in touch

Lisa Blyth

ATMOSYS Services Business and Relations Manager
+32 14 33 67 57