Low Maintenance and Low Cost Cryocooler

Period of Performance: 06/22/2009 - 05/19/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Infinia Corp.
6811 West Okanogan Place
Kennewick, WA 99336
Principal Investigator


Cryocoolers currently in use for High Temperature Superconducting Degaussing (HTSDG) systems onboard Navy ships (Gifford McMahon based) meet the basic performance requirement of 200 W of heat lift at 50°K. However they are inefficient (7.5 kW input power) and prone to frequent maintenance (10,000 hours). Infinia Corporation proposes the development of a maintenance-free, highly efficient practical design concept for a fully integrated low cost, Free piston Stirling Cryocooler (FSC) system that will provide in excess of 200 W (230 W target) of useful cooling capacity at a cold end temperature of 50°K, while consuming only 3.55 kW with a maintenance-free life of 72,000 hours. The system will directly utilize key elements of Infinia s commercial 3 kW hermetically sealed, free piston, Stirling engine imminently beginning mass-production for the solar energy market. The basic design uses unique flexure bearings and clearance seals, with no rubbing or wearing parts, and no lubricants. Development of the cryocooler system will result in a unit available at a dramatically lower cost, that operates at better than twice the efficiency of the current commercially used cryocooler, and requires significantly reduced maintenance.