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Air Squared News

Air Squared Part of Cross-Industry Collaboration Developing Hybrid Power Generation System

The ARPA-E INTEGRATE program has awarded a four-organization team, including Air Squared, funding to develop an innovative 125 kWe distributive power system.

High-Capacity Scroll Compressor Concept Rendering for INTEGRATE Program
High-Capacity Scroll Compressor Concept Rendering for INTEGRATE Program

Broomfield, CO – A collaboration between Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Kohler Power Systems, and Air Squared, has been awarded $3 million in funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a novel hybrid power generation system. Led by Professor Rob Braun at Colorado School of Mines, the team is one of eight awarded funding by the Innovative Natural-Gas Technologies for Efficiency Gain in Reliable and Affordable Thermochemical Electricity-Generation (INTEGRATE) program. The INTEGRATE program has the stated goal of developing a 125 kWe, 70% efficient, distributive energy solution that costs under $760/kW installed.

The four-organization team aims to demonstrate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, with each partner contributing innovative componentry that reflects a unique core competency:

  1. Colorado School of Mines will develop a robust, pressurized, and flexible steel solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), in partnership with Ceres Power, that provides primary electricity generation.
  2. Air Squared will develop an anode recirculation scroll compressor that delivers a reliable and plentiful supply of hydrogen to the fuel cell stack, as well as an integrated scroll compressor-expander for waste heat recovery that provides additional power to the entire system, increasing overall efficiency and improving the overall balance of plant.
  3. Colorado State University will develop an innovative natural gas-powered internal combustion engine in partnership with Kohler Power Systems.
  4. Kohler Power Systems will, in addition to the reciprocating internal combustion engine, develop a high-efficiency, low-cost inverter and provide commercialization support.

The synergistic approach hopes to encourage the adoption of modular, scalable microgrids for residential, commercial, and industrial use, while encouraging planning of diverse alternative energy sources that work in unison. The project begins in 2019 with the development of a 30 kWe prototype that can be scaled to 125 kWe by 2022.

About Integrated Scroll Compressor-Expander Technology

With patented integrated scroll compressor-expander technology from Air Squared, the scroll compressor and expander operate on a common shaft, allowing a single semi-hermetic shell to be used for all rotating components. The work recovered by the expander is directly transmitted to the compressor, significantly improving efficiency. The integration of the compressor and expander not only makes the system more compact but also requires fewer components (e.g., bearings, generator), which in turn reduces system weight and improves reliability.

About Air Squared

Air Squared is the industry leader in oil-free scroll design and manufacturing. By introducing a simple design with fewer moving parts, scroll technology has established itself as a highly efficient, very reliable, cost-effective alternative. Through a growing line of compressors, vacuum pumps, and expanders, Air Squared makes the many advantages of oil-free scroll technology available to OEMs worldwide.

This material is based upon work supported by the ARPA-E INTEGRATE Program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Energy or ARPA-E.