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‘World’s first’ cryonic scroll pump in development

Broomfield, Colorado based oil free scroll design and manufacture specialist Air Squared has announced it is developing the world’s first cryogenic scroll pump. Named the CryoScroll, the electrically driven pump is intended for pumping multi-phase cryogenic fluids.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Air Squared ‘Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)’ funding to support the development of the CryoScroll. The DOE is looking to further the development and reduce the costs of specialised particle and radiation detection, as part of its High Energy Detectors and Instrumentation focus.

A series of particle physics experiments the DOE has planned, such as upgrades on the Large Hadron Collider, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment known as DUNE and next generation searches for dark matter, require specialised detectors. Air Squared proposed its submerged cryogenic scroll pump to address the need for large-scale cryogenic detectors.

The DOE is supporting a range of high-energy experiments which plan to run large detectors constantly for up to thirty years. In the case of DUNE, for instance, 1.5 km deep detectors are filled with 70,000 tons of liquid argon requiring constant filtration within the cryostat in order to maintain proper purity levels and precisely monitor proton decay. To achieve this the DOE requires reliable, low vibration cryogenic liquid argon pumps.

When completed and if successful, Air Squared’s CryoScroll will be able to maintain the necessary differential pressure of 50 psig at speeds under 1000rpm while handling a range of cryostat capacities.

The first step will see Air Squared design, produce and test a subscale CryoScroll prototype capable of a tenth of the required flow, which they will test with liquid nitrogen. If the initial test is successful, the company will apply for Phase II SBIR funding from the DOE, allowing the development of a full scale prototype and eventual commercialisation of the CryoScroll technology. The company expects the CryoScroll to be useful across a host of cryogenic pumping applications, including the pumping of liquid hydrogen and liquid natural gas for storage and distribution.