SBIR Phase II: Isothermal Gas Compression

Period of Performance: 04/01/2017 - 03/31/2019


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Carnot Compression LLC
43 Casa Way Array
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is in reducing the energy consumption from air and gas compression. In the United States, industrial air compressors consume over 12% of manufacturing electricity consumption, or 399 trillion BTU. 5% of natural gas production in the US is consumed by compression to move the gas to the end-user. On a global basis, compressors driven by electric motors are estimated to consume 32% of the electricity consumption from electric motor driven systems, or 2,267 terawatt hours per year. At $0.10 per kilowatt hour, this translates into nearly $227 billion of annual electricity costs for compression. Carnot's technology has the potential to reduce energy consumption from compression by 20% or more across multiple compression applications. By reducing the energy consumed for air and gas compression, the technology will reduce the carbon footprint of industrial and commercial activity in the US and internationally. Isothermal compression has been thought unachievable due to the requirement of rapidly capturing the heat of compression. The Phase I project allowed us to integrate proven design elements from prior prototypes, along with a complete liquid recirculation and heat dissipation system, into a single platform. This project will build upon research performed under the Phase I project to bring our compression technology to commercial readiness. A 2-year research and development plan will be executed to address key systems engineering elements of the technology to achieve commercial ready status. A combination of lab experiments, thermodynamic modeling, design, engineering, and benchtop prototyping will be used to develop a commercial ready system design that can be applied to a broad range of industrial compression applications. Further study and exploitation of isothermal compression may lead to an ever-evolving field of application, potentially creating additional areas of research and learning.