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Research

Mechanical Engineering and Compressor Technology

How can tools such as SCORG and CFD modelling create more efficient and innovative compressors and reduce our carbon footprint?

Research undertaken by City, University of London’s Howden/Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Engineering, Professor Ahmed Kovacevic, has helped to transform the design of machinery and reduce our carbon footprint - contributing significantly to net-zero emissions.

What did we explore and how?

Research undertaken by City, University of London’s Howden/Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Engineering, Professor Ahmed Kovacevic, has helped to transform the design of machinery and reduce our carbon footprint - contributing significantly to net-zero emissions.

Professor Kovacevic and his team of researchers at City’s Centre for Compressor Technology created SCORG, a specialised software for the design and analysis of screw compressors, expanders, pumps and motors.

The software package uniquely evaluates the performance and operation of these machines through the use of the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and the lower order Multi Chamber Thermodynamic Models. This is designed to minimise effort and maximise the efficiency of the design process by enabling geometry analysis, preliminary thermodynamic evaluation, and grid generation of a large number of positive displacement rotary machines.

Positive displacement machines such as screw compressors work by changing a size of the volume trapped between rotating interlocking rotors, which increases the temperature and pressure of the fluid inside the machine.

SCORG software is used to accurately analyse changes in fluid properties by dividing complex spaces inside the machine into smaller volumes and processing them in CFD or lower order modelling tools. SCORG divides the complex chamber volume into a numerical mesh using a pioneering technique and specialised procedure.

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 come up to approximately €275 billion per annum.

Data analysed by SCORG allows manufacturers to design and produce compressors, pumps, expanders and hydraulic motors that run more efficiently, reducing their energy consumption and carbon emissions by up to 5%.

Refrigeration alone contributes about 25% of total energy usage in the United States 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 - 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.

Professor Kovacevic, who started researching CFD analysis for screw compressors for his PhD at City University in 1998, has been continuously refining the modelling of SCORG’s software to become an industry standard.

Industry statistics reveal that there are up to 700 compressor companies globally; SCORG has been used by almost a third of them. Through SCORG, there is huge potential to increase the efficiency of millions of more machines.

The researchers

  • Professor Ahmed Kovacevic

More about this research

  • School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering
  • Related academic: Professor Ahmed Kovacevic
  • Status: Completed
  • Topics: Engineering
  • Industry/sector: Engineering, construction and real estate
  • Publication link: External link