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Software from City University spin-out PDM Analysis improves pump efficiency

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A software tool developed by City, University of London spin-out PDM Analysis in the UK can be used to help improve the efficiency of pumps and compressors.

Data analysed by the SCORG software tool allows compressor manufacturers to design machines that run more efficiently, reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions by up to 5%.

Use of the software in the compressors and pumps industry has the potential to save millions of kilowatts of energy, equivalent to more than 1% of the US’ entire energy consumption in just one application, according to recent research in the journal Production Engineering Solutions.

The SCORG software, which stands for screw compressor rotor grid generator, is designed for screw compressors, expanders and pumps used in many industrial applications, including refrigeration and air conditioning.

Researchers at City and PDM Analysis claim that using SCORG to design compressors in refrigeration alone and cutting their energy usage by 5% could save over 1% of total US energy consumption. This calculation excludes the energy savings from using this technology for industrial applications, such as oil and gas.

The performance of screw expanders, gear and fuel pumps, motors, roots blowers, and liquid and progressive cavity pumps can also be improved, meaning the true potential for energy and carbon dioxide savings is much higher.

Screw compressors work by reducing a gas volume using rotating interlocking rotors, which increases the temperature and pressure of the gas inside the chamber. The software works by accurately analysing fluid property changes within the complex spaces inside the chamber, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling.

SCORG divides the chamber volume into numerical cells using a specialised procedure to form a numerical grid. Professor Ahmed Kovacevic, who started researching CFD analysis for screw compressors in 2002, has been refining the modelling ever since.

“Pressure and temperature increases are caused by the reduction of volume in the compressor,” he explained. “You squeeze the gas between the compressor elements. In a screw compressor these form very complex shapes, formed by the rotors and the casing. The main obstacle in using CFD to look inside these machines was the lack of a reliable method to produce a numerical grid needed for modelling the machines with CFD, which our method has achieved.”

Industry statistics show that there are up to 700 compressor companies in the world, with SCORG being used by almost a third of them. The new version of the software, SCORG 5.7, is now available.