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SwRI to Develop Linear Motor Recip

Goal is to reduce costs for hydrogen compression


Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has received a US$1.8 million contract from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop, build and test a linear motor reciprocating compressor (LMRC).

The goal of the project is to increase efficiency and reduce costs for hydrogen compression, paving the way to economical hydrogen storage. The contract is one of 10 that the department has awarded to advance hydrogen production and delivery technologies.

The LMRC is based on an SwRI-patented concept of driving a permanent magnet piston inside a hermetically sealed compressor cylinder through electromagnetic winding, thus minimizing mechanical part count, reducing leakage and ensuring better reliability.

SwRI’s researchers expect the LMRC system will be able to achieve the required compression ratio with efficiency greater than 95%, greatly exceeding current equipment capabilities with efficiencies that are typically only about 73%.

“The simplified design should also be more reliable, requiring less maintenance, and it can easily be modularized for installation in the field,” said Eugene Broerman, a senior research engineer in SwRI’s mechanical engineering division and manager of the DOE project.


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