ORC Concept Receives SBIR Phase I Funding

Air Squared has been awarded a Phase I SBIR from the NSF, in connection with the Societal Challenges area of Energy Efficiency and Alternative and Renewable Energy.


Compact Torus-Shaped ORC with Refrigerant Flow

Broomfield, CO – June 11th, 2014 – Air Squared, Inc. has been awarded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its novel Compact Torus-Shaped Organic Rankine Cycle design (Pat. Pend.). An Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) uses organic fluids with a high molecular mass and low boiling point, to extract power from low temperature energy sources. The waste-heat to energy device could be used to convert low-grade heat sources into usable electric energy.

The Compact ORC design relies heavily on Air Squared’s extensive experience in scroll technology, which despite being around for over one-hundred years, has seen little use as a positive displacement expander. Leveraging this technology allows the integration of all components into a closed cylindrical container, where the working fluid flows about a torus in a poloidal direction – reducing system size and complexity.

In connection to the Societal Challenges area of Energy Efficiency and Alternative and Renewable Energy, the SBIR will examine the feasibility of several uses for the device, including waste heat from biomass and integration with concentrated solar power. With renewed interest in low-grade heat recovery, the Compact ORC could have a far-reaching impact, making self-sustaining energy possible for rural and residential communities.

The primary objective of the Phase I SBIR is to qualify the positioning of the evaporator and condenser in the uniquely shaped 1.5 kW ORC. The goal is to achieve 80% efficiency in both components. Phase I of the SBIR will completed in six months, with all development and testing conducted at Air Squared’s facility in Broomfield, CO.

About Air Squared, Inc.

Air Squared, Inc. 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.

Update July 27th, 2016 – Air Squared has been awarded SBIR Phase II funding from the NSF for the Compact Torus-Shaped Organic Rankine Cycle.  Learn More >>

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number: 1346122. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Explore All Content