CCS and Power Systems

Carbon Capture - Post-Combustion Capture

Recovery Act: Ramgen Supersonic Shock Wave Compression and Engine Technology

Project No: FE0000493

Project Description

Ramgen, with the support of Dresser-Rand, is working to develop air and CO2 compressor products based on shock wave compression technology. This approach builds on well-established ramjet principles of aerospace propulsion, and represents a radical conceptual departure from conventional multi-staged, bladed turbo-compressors. Supersonic inlet technology produces air velocities above the speed of sound, creating shock waves that efficiently compress air or CO2. Shock wave compression has several advantages over conventional compression technologies: higher compression efficiency, higher single-stage compression ratios, opportunity for waste heat recovery, and lower capital cost.

This project was expanded in 2010 to include further development of the supersonic compression technology with a novel concept engine, the Integrated Supersonic Component (ISC) Engine. In separate research, Ramgen previously developed a high velocity combustor design uniquely suited for direct integration with the supersonic compression process. Working from lessons learned in developing the shock wave-based air and CO2 compressors and the successful demonstration of its AVC system, Ramgen will combine supersonic shock compression and AVC to produce a working ISC engine design. As the engine is designed and tested, the CO2 compressor will be advanced along its development path by incorporating the lessons learned in the aerodynamic design of the supersonic shock compression section of the ISC engine power wheel.

Important technical progress on shock wave-based compression has been achieved at a rapid pace because of access to supercomputers made possible by DOE. This enables the development of this revolutionary engine combined with further advancement of the CO2 compressor. Based on a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling capability that is one of the most advanced in the world, the supersonic compression process can be incorporated into the power wheel and directly integrated with the combustion and expansion of the working fluid required for a highly efficient power generation cycle.

Ramgen will employ classic engineering strategies to execute a successful CO2 compressor demonstration program using a 13,000 horsepower (hp) unit. Ramgen’s technical team will design and analyze the CO2 compressor demonstration rig in deterministic steps—including Conceptual Design Review (CDR), Preliminary Design Review (PDR), and Final Design Review (FDR)—with an increasing level of detail at each step. The design process incorporates a number of decision gates along with risk assessment and risk reduction tasks. The program is also intended to produce early-stage preliminary aero flow path validation data. The project will feature several risk reduction efforts, including a critical factor investigation for designing a supersonic CO2 compressor, performance model update, and a risk closure plan. Upon completion of the engineering design, the CO2 compressor demonstration test rig will be fabricated and assembled. The final compressor testing step will be to operate a 13,000 hp CO2 compressor rig at a suita ble site.

The ISC engine development will include system design and construction of three increasing-scale models: (1) a 1.5 megawatt (MW) proof-of-concept model for initial testing; (2) a 2.5 MW workhorse model that incorporates a low pressure turbine stage to achieve the full efficiency capability of the system; and (3) a 5 MW commercial-scale prototype for field testing that incorporates the lessons learned from the proofof-concept and workhorse units. The workhorse engine and the 5 MW scale prototype iterations are serialized sufficiently in time so as to allow lessons learned in the design and assembly of each engine to be applied to the next iteration. Performance testing of the 5 MW prototype will further provide critical experimental evidence confirming the effects of system physical scaling on performance.

Project Details