WASHINGTON - In an awards ceremony at the Earth Technologies Forum, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented its Climate Protection Award to Turbocor Inc. for its oil-free, high-efficiency compressor technology. Commenting on the award at a press conference, Brian Evans, president and CEO of Turbocor (Dorval, Quebec), noted that his company is only the second HVAC manufacturer to receive the EPA's highest environmental award.

"We feel that the Turbocor technology epitomizes the goal of the U.S. EPA's Responsible Use vision, a vision that encourages owners, systems designers, and manufacturers to invest in the highest efficiency/lowest emissions technologies and then provide documented sustainability of this high level of performance over the entire lifetime of the product, system, or service," said Evans.

Eugene Smithart, vice president, sales and marketing, for Turbocor, highlights the advantages of his company’s compressor technology to an exhibit visitor at the Earth Technologies Forum.
Explaining the technology, Eugene Smithart, P.E., vice president, sales and marketing, said the Turbocor compressor provides oil-free operation through the use of magnetic bearings, which also minimize friction losses; variable-speed centrifugal compression to maximize efficiency; and onboard digital electronics to document performance for middle-market water-cooled, evaporative-cooled, and air-cooled HVACR applications.

"Our compressor provides up to 33 percent better operating efficiency, especially at part load conditions, compared to some of the industry's best screw compressors," Smithart said. This is due to the unit's "centrifugal compression and high-efficiency permanent magnet motor" combined with a built-in variable-speed drive that "maximizes performance over the entire operating range."

Reliability is enhanced because there is only one moving part, he said. "And that part - the combined rotor shaft and impellers - levitates and floats during rotation by the digitally controlled magnetic bearings, ensuring 500 times less friction than traditional oiled bearings."

Ron Conry, Turbocor's chief technology officer and inventor of the product, noted that the compressor's soft start module reduces inrush current to "only 2 amps vs. the typical 500 to 600 amps for traditional screw compressors."

Since the Turbocor compressor is oil-free, "it eliminates the possibility of oil contaminating the refrigerant," pointed out Conry. "Because oil can degrade the performance of chillers and other HVAC equipment by coating the heat transfer surfaces, its elimination is a significant sustainable performance advantage, helping to maintain its high efficiency over the life of the equipment." Web-based monitoring and diagnostics provide real-time documentation of the compressor's performance.

The product now has over 500,000 hours of field use in new and retrofit applications, said Evans. "We believe this compressor represents, in the important mid-range market, the future of compression technology."

Publication date: 05/10/2004