Review of conference 2009
Latest on Compressors
Attendees at the September 2009 International Conference on Compressors and their Systems were treated to a wide range of innovation on compression technology. With contributions from 15 countries around the world, the event provided an unparalleled opportunity for delegates to network and meet the experts. Dr Norbert Kämmer of Emerson Climate Technologies set the tone with an opening presentation giving an overview of scroll technology and some flavour of the subsequent sessions may be gained form the following highlights.
Computing methods can save costs
Computer modeling of compression processes may appear to be an indulgence for academics, while those at the sharp end of compressor design still rely on less sophisticated techniques together with experience and testing. In a keynote speech Dr Ahmed Kovacevic from City, University of London rapidly demolished this myth, demonstrating that computing methods have moved on, and designers can have access to tools that can save costly trial and error methods and testing. We are moving to the stage where the compressor is fully optimized on the screen, and testing can be reduced to confirmation and reliability proving. The team at City is working with several partners in industry, focussing primarily on screw compressors, but with methods that are applicable to related technologies.
New Compression Mechanisms
Why do we need rotation to drive compressor pistons? P Bailey and his team from Oxford University are confident that linear motors can provide an answer, and at the same time eliminate the oil contamination the system. Successful linear machines have been built for cryogenics, and moving magnet motors are being developed for commercial refrigeration. A separate innovation by Professor Ooi from Singapore is an ingenious revolving vane mechanism that could offer much better mechanical efficiency than the present rolling piston types used in many small cooling systems.
Turbo Compressor Opportunities
The centrifugal compressor has the potential for variable speed oil-free compression. How this potential has been carefully realized and optimized for refrigerant compression was described in detail by JJ Brasz of Danfoss Turbocor compressors. Many other intriguing aspects of dynamic compressors were covered by other authors, with computational modeling providing much better insights into flow behaviour.
Turning compression on its head
Compressors become power-generating expanders when supplied with high pressure gas. Expanders can usefully employ waste heat or geothermal sources. Dr V Lamort from University of Liège in Belgium showed how scrolls can recover heat using either steam or an organic fluid in a Rankine cycle. Professor Smith introduced the concept of using high temperature wet steam, which could be even more efficient.
The published volume of refereed papers from this conference is available from the IMechE. The conference is the latest in a bi-annual series, so be sure to look out for the next event in September 2011.