The use of fossil fuels worldwide requires developing economically viable technology to sequester CO2 as one means of curbing global warming. International commitments require “research on, and promotion, development and increased use of … carbon dioxide sequestration technologies…” One major expense in sequestering CO2 is compressing it to high pressures. Addressing this, Department of Energy goals include developing “novel concepts for the compression of large volumes of CO2.” Ramgen Power Systems shock compression technology employs supersonic aerodynamic design techniques projected to dramatically decrease the size, cost and power required for compressing CO2. This promising breakthrough in turbomachinery efficiency and cost is achieved by combining aerodynamics and mechanical engineering in new ways. To optimize the technology, very high grid resolution is required to capture the 3D shock distributions and accurately model the resulting compressible viscous flow behavior. After reviewing papers on the technology including early rotating rig tests validating Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) predictions, DOE Secretary Steven Chu identified the use of supercomputers as a means to shorten the time required to optimize the design and to reach product performance targets. Ramgen works closely with the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), the DOE Office of Fossil Fuels and Office of Science, and NETL to move the technology along its development curve at a fast pace. In addition to lowering the costs of CCS with the CO2 compressor, advancing the Ramgen shock wave based technology also promises a major breakthrough in small engine performance and cost. The engine holds significant promise for reducing greenhouse gases as support for renewable technologies and by using dilute waste methane as fuel at industrial sites.
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