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Centric Reciprocating Compressor

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CRC (Centric Reciprocating Compressor)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-06-30

The overall objective of the Centric Reciprocating Compressor (CRC) project is to upscale, pilot and commercialise our highly energy efficient, cost-effective and lightweight air compressor targeting the nitrogen generator manufacturers in the maritime shipping sector. CRC has the potential to generate annual energy savings of at least 30% and to reduce operating costs in 35%.

Although air compression technology is long established and very widely used in many industrial sectors, compression equipment almost never operates at anything close to efficiency. As much as 90% of all energy fed into air compression systems is lost through waste heat in the compression chamber, friction between moving parts, pressure disequilibria in piping systems, poor control of supply and demand peaks, or production overruns. In addition, generating compressed air is an energy-intensive process accounting for 70-80% of the compressor costs throughout its entire lifetime, regardless of size or intensity of use. About 10% of all the electricity consumed by the EU industry is used to drive compressed air systems (i.e. 80TWh per year) or the equivalent of the entire annual electricity production of Belgium or the Czech Republic. Furthermore, an inescapable consequence of heavy energy consumption is the production of greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions: the generation of the 80TWh of electricity used by air compressors in EU releases 56MT of CO2 annually, if the primary energy source is fossil fuel. Finally, compressor systems need lubricating oil which must be filtered out of the compressed airstream prior to its use, and this too supposes another financial cost and waste disposal challenge that compressor manufacturers are yet to solve. CRC will help solve the industrial and societal problem of a more energy efficient compressed air industry, and provide a significant contribution to reach the climate change and energy sustainability measures set-out in the Europe 2020 strategy.

The patented CRC solution minimises both the number of subcomponents in the compressor and their movement against each other, and thus has the lowest heat waste in the market. By keeping extremely low physical wear on moving parts, CRC reduces maintenance costs from current 15% to max. 10% allowing us to offer a disruptive and virtually maintenance-free compressor. CRC’s internal configuration enables the replacement of standard lubricating oil with water which we also use for sealing, cooling and cleaning the compressor, so running temperatures are much lower (approx. 18%), the airstream leaves the compressor 100% pure and free of particles, and there is no need for an oil filtration step. CRC has no valves -something that is further simplifying the design, cuts our production costs by 40%, and allows us to offer our product at a highly competitive price (€12,000/unit). The above disruptive features allow CRC to annually reduce energy consumption by at least 30% (mainly in operating and maintenance costs) compared to current available solutions - allowing our customers to reach return on investment (RoI) within 4-years and aiding the industry and the EU to cut GHG emissions in the 17MT of CO2. CRC is the lightest compressor in the market (50kg weight) and has a very small physical footprint (LWH dimensions of 1.5m by 0.8m by 2.2m) which makes it easy to transport and very suitable for space restricted locations on seagoing vessels.
The work plan spans 24 months and consists of six work packages (WPs) divided between specific technology maturation activities (WP1), merging into piloting and validation activities (WP2) that is running in parallel with three market maturation and communication WPs (WP3-5) with data and analyses from these five feeding into the simultaneous development of our final BIP and CP in WP6 - Innovation Management- that will support all activities.
Work performed and results during the first project period:
WP1: Technology Maturation
• The first prototype was designed, manufactured, assembled and tested
• Data from the first prototype was used to improve and optimize the design
• A second prototype is being manufactured and will be delivered by the 15/09/2018
• The optimized design is being used for manufacturing of the five industrial scale prototypes to be used for testing

WP2: Large Scale Industrial Piloting and Validation
• Full scale CRC design is finished
• Manufacturing order has been placed
• The test facility has been designed and is under preparation

WP3: Supply chain development and industrial scaling
• Upstream supply chain for components and manufacturing is finished
• Downstream partner networking is in progress

WP4: Commercialisation
• Market study is underway
• Cost estimation is in progress
• Mapping of the initial target market (marine nitrogen production plant) in underway

WP5: Communication, dissemination, and exploitation of results
• The CRC website has been built and is active

WP6: Innovation Management
• Financial management, IP monitoring and protection, Achieving and delivering BIP and associated CP ready for post-project execution
Energy is the principal cost during the lifetime of all industrial gas compression equipment, regardless of the intensity of use it has, and bettering the energy efficiency is the only realistic way to make significant reductions in lifetime costs. As well as lowering energy consumption, compressor systems need to be able to produce a clean airstream that does not interfere with any chemical or physical processes downstream. We list the principal novelties that make CRC an authentic breakthrough in air compressor technology and the state of the art:
• Energy inputs: CRC uses 30% less energy compared to reciprocating piston and rotary screw compressors at the same compressed air output rating.
• Durability: CRC’s working life outperforms its competitors by at least 50%. Fewer moving parts, low temperatures (~18% lower than competing solutions) and low vibration during operation protect it from mechanical fatigue, even when under constant hand intense use.
• Clean: Water injection into the centric compression chamber removes any particles or chemical vapours in the incoming airstream, and means no oil in the compressed air outflow. CRC compressed air is Purity Class A as per ISO 8573-1 . No filtration is needed after the compression.
• Noise: CRC works quietly and can be located almost anywhere in the workplace without contravening regulations on workplace noise .
• Flow control: CRC air flow rate is scalable and controllable. The working target for the Phase 2 is 270cfm and this can be up-scaled in larger versions. It offers a high degree of control for the user, unlike centrifugal gas compression platforms which offer the end user little margin of operation around the system maximum.
• Compression ratio: V1/V2 = 7:1
• Cooling: No oil is needed in the system. Water is injected into the compression chambers to seal moving parts and remove heat.
• Valves: CRC has no internal valves to control airflow or air direction. Water acts as a sealant in the compression chambers and stops backflow. Design is simplified and mechanical reliability is increased.
• Vibration: CRC rotary motion produces minimal vibration. This lowers mechanical fatigue within the unit and within any ancillary apparatus connected with the compressor.