Hybrid Rotor Compressor for Natural Gas Extraction

Jeremy Pitts and Pedro Santos, OsComp Systems, Boston, MA

Natural gas is a booming industry in the U.S. and represents a bridge energy solution to a renewable energy future. Unfortunately, the key piece of equipment — the compressor — that is being used to extract and process natural gas, uses technology that has re mained fundamentally unchanged in the last century.

OsComp Systems has developed a breakthrough natural gas compression technology that will revolutionize the industry. By combining a novel rotary geometry with an innovative method for extracting heat from the system, the compressor is 10% of the size of conventional machines and more than 30% more efficient.

“We look forward to further developing the technology, bringing it to market, and having a huge impact on the future energy needs of the US and the rest of the world.”

The basis of the efficiency gains are rooted in basic thermodynamics. As gas is compressed, it naturally heats up. Work that is put into the system that ends up as heat is work that is not being utilized to compress the gas. Conventional compression technologies are adiabatic, meaning all of this generated heat remains in the system. OsComp has developed a system for injecting coolant into the compressor that quickly cools the gas and saves over 30% of the energy compared to an adiabatic process.

One example application for this technology is wet gas compression. The compressor is able to dramatically simplify the process and necessary equipment at a wellhead site by pumping wet gas -- natural gas with entrained liquids -- directly into the pipeline to a central facility, where the processing can be handled more efficiently.

Because of the complexity required to separate liquids and gases at the wellhead, many wellhead sites process the liquids but do not install the infrastructure to capture the gas, instead burning it off at the well site. By capturing the natural gas at just one of these sites and using it to produce power, OsComp’s technology can eliminate as much CO2 from the environment as a 100-MW solar farm.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1879 .

Honorable Mentions

New Design of CV Joint

Martin Gecik, Presov, Slovak Republic

The invention is a constant velocity joint (CVJ) of the fixed type, where the input and output shaft cannot move in the direction of their axes. The invention is based on several pairs of spherically curved levers, which are rotationally fixed to the input and output shaft, and to a simple mechanism located in between the two shafts – the stabilizing mechanism. The function of the stabilizing mechanism is to fix each end of the spherical lever to the imaginary homokinetic plane so that the movement of one of the spherical levers from the pair on one side of the plane is a mirror image of the movement of the second lever from the pair on the other side of the plane.

It can be used in the drive axles of passenger cars, trucks, agricultural machinery, and wind turbines, and in propulsive systems in helicopters, ships, and outboard marine motors.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1850 .

Dynamic Engine Valve Timing & Throw Control

Paul Baker, Denham Springs, LA

Changes in intake and exhaust valve timing and throw directly affect the power, torque, and fuel efficiency of a four-stroke Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). Both high performance and high fuel economy could be achieved if the timing and throw of the valves could be adjusted, especially if the exhaust and intake valves could be controlled independently. This dynamic adjustment of both timing and throw is now possible with an application of the Angular Motion Translator (AMT).

Two AMT assemblies are installed on a pair of concentric output shafts. The inner shaft is connected to a gear that will adjust the maximum eccentricity (or throw) of a valve cam while the cam is in motion.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/1575 .