OTECHOS has developed a patented wet gas compressor that increases energy efficiency by up to 65 per cent. “Our technology will be significant in making hydrogen a viable energy carrier, thus reducing the world’s CO₂ emissions,” says Tor Arne Hauge, founder of OTECHOS.
Most people probably give little thought to compressors, even though they play a huge role in our modern lives. A compressor is a machine that increases the pressure of gas, which is needed in all industries, commercial buildings and homes.
In the home, compressors are used inside refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and the like. In industry, every plant and factory has several large compressors.
“Compressors are energy hogs. They represent about 17 per cent of the total energy use in developed countries, producing over 3 000 metric megatons of CO2 each year,” says Hauge.
Read more: OTECHOS has received funding under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme
Hauge explains one reason for the compressor’s higher efficiency: “Most compressors heat the gas, which then needs to be cooled. In contrast, our compressors don’t need any after-cooling. The temperature of the gas is lower when it comes out than when it goes in.”
In addition, the lower temperature enhances reliability and reduces the need for maintenance. The lack of valves, typical for conventional compressors, lowers maintenance costs as well, thus reducing operating costs. The CRCP is liquid tolerant and clean, uncontaminated by oil and particulates.
The CRCP can be used to compress various gases. One of these is hydrogen, a much cleaner power source than fossil fuels, and potentially a zero-emission source when produced with renewable energy.
“When using hydrogen as an energy carrier, transforming electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity again, 50 per cent of the energy consumed in this process is used for compressor operation. In other words, for every 100 kWh of energy used to run a hydrogen ferry or a hydrogen bus, up to 50 kWh of this amount is used to run the compressors,” states Hauge.
This explains why OTECHOS’ high-efficiency compressors provide a greener alternative. “We know that compression matters. For every 1 per cent that we improve compressor efficiency, we get 1 per cent more energy from hydrogen,” he adds.
Moreover, the CRCP is efficient for CO2 gas liquefaction, transfer, transport and storage injection, which will be useful for new solutions in carbon capture and storage (CCS). The company is piloting solutions in waste heat recovery as well.
The CRCP is based on a patented technology called Centric Reciprocation Technology (CR-Technology), also developed by OTECHOS. In addition to compressors, CR-Technology is the basis of the company’s products for other applications.
“We are seeing lots of interest from the market for our CRCP and other CR-Technology innovations,” says Hauge. His experience aligns with the rapid growth in the global gas compressor market, which is expected to surpass USD 8.42 billion by 2029.
“We have just scratched the surface of all the green innovations that can come from our CR-Technology. These are exciting times,” concludes Hauge.