Software from City spin-out helps improve efficiency of pumps and compressors
SCORG, a software tool developed by PDM Analysis, a Centre for Compressor Technology spin-out, has refined its mechanical analysis software to improve the efficiency of compressors and pumps.
Use of the software in compressors and pumps industry has the potential to save millions of kilowatts of energy – equivalent to more than 1% of the United States’ entire energy consumption in just one application, as reported recently in the American engineering trade journal, Production Engineering Solutions.
Screw compressor rotor grid generator, or ‘SCORG’ software is designed for screw compressors, expanders and pumps used in many industrial applications including refrigeration and air conditioning.
Data analysed by SCORG allows compressor manufacturers to design machines and compressors that run more efficiently, reducing their energy consumption and carbon emissions by up to 5%.
Data compiled regarding energy usage in the US suggests that refrigeration alone contributes about 25% of total energy usage in America in the summer months, and compressors are found in all refrigeration and air conditioning devices.
Researchers at City and PDM Analysis believe that using SCORG to design compressors in refrigeration alone and cutting their energy usage by 5%, could save over 1% of total US energy consumption.
This calculation excludes the energy savings from using this technology for industrial applications like oil and gas and process gases. The performance of screw expanders, gear and fuel pumps, motors, roots blowers, and liquid and progressive cavity pumps can also be improved, meaning the true potential for energy and CO2 saving using this analysis is much higher.
Compressors of all types represent about 17% of energy use in developed countries, producing over 3,000 megatons of CO2 per year. Energy costs from compressors are about €275 billion per annum.
Screw compressors work by reducing a gas volume using rotating interlocking rotors which increases the temperature and pressure of the gas inside the chamber. The software works by accurately analysing fluid property changes within the complex spaces inside the chamber, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling.
SCORG divides the chamber volume into numerical cells using a specialised procedure to form a numerical grid.
Professor Ahmed Kovacevic, who started researching CFD analysis for screw compressors for his PhD at City in 2002, has been refining the modelling ever since.
Pressure and temperature increases are caused by the reduction of volume in the compressor. You squeeze the gas between the compressor elements. In a screw compressor these form very complex shapes, formed by the rotors and the casing. The main obstacle in using CFD to look inside these machines was the lack of a reliable method to produce a numerical grid needed for modelling the machines with CFD, which our method has achieved.
The improved version, SCORG 5.7, has been recently launched, but earlier versions have helped industrial companies for several years.
Industry statistics indicate that there are up to 700 compressor companies in the world and SCORG has been used by almost a third of them - there is huge potential to increase the efficiency of millions of more machines.
The global market for screw compressors is predicted to be worth $11 billion per annum by 2021 with compound growth of 6.6 percent, according to analysts Markets and Markets.
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