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Chementator: Borrowing from aviation to improve compression

By Chemical Engineering |

With funding from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE; Washington, D.C.), Ramgen Power Systems (Bellevue, Wash.; edlinks.chemengonline.com/5830-536) is developing a compact supersonic compressor that combines aspects of the shock-compression systems used in supersonic flight inlets with proven turbomachinery design practices that are used in today’s conventional axial and centrifugal compressors. “The physics associated with shock waves is proven in supersonic inlets. Now we’re proving it for stationary applications, says Ramgen president Peter Baldwin. “We’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done before.” Initially being designed to reduce the compression-related costs associated with integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) facilities (namely, the air compression required by the cryogenic distillation system used to produce oxygen for coal gasification, and the compression of the downstream CO2 in the turbine exhaust), the Ramgen compressor has corresponding implications for the development of more-efficient, lower-cost compression for other industrial applications, too, says Baldwin. For CO2 compression requiring 100:1 pressure ratio, Baldwin says that the Ramgen supersonic compressor…
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