A linear compressor for larger systems?
USA: Two American entrepreneurs are developing an energy-saving linear refrigeration compressor that, they say, could be scaleable for use in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning.
While linear compressors are already being used in some domestic refrigerators, the technology has, until now, not been possible on larger systems. In contrast, the RayMacCompressor currently under development is said to be capable of almost 3kW, making it suitable for heat pumps and other larger commercial applications. In time, the developers maintain the technology could be scaled up to around 17kW.
Named after its developers Ray McKenzie and Mac Chaney, the RayMacCompressor is said to be 50% more efficient than conventional equipment. This is achieved through its variable stroke capabilities for differing workloads and conditions and its freedom from cycling, which eliminates start-up power-surges and drastically reduces power consumption. In addition, it eliminates the requirement for start or run capacitors.
“We call it the lean, green pumping machine,” said Ray McKenzie, the mastermind behind the RayMacCompressor who has been involved in linear motor developments for more than 40 years and inspired one of the earliest patents on linear motor technology for refrigeration compression in 1970.
“With rising energy costs over the years, it makes more sense to conserve energy than to produce more,” says McKenzie. “Our RayMacCompressor can save an enormous amount of energy while also being versatile enough for multiple applications.”
Ray McKenzie has managed several corporations dealing in battery technology and, perhaps significantly, stereo equipment. It is a musical link he shares with his co-developer Mac Chaney who, in a broad background in analog circuit design and digital and analog telecommunications, was part of a team instrumental in developing the first operating CD recorder/player and is also a songwriter with more than forty copyrights.
It may be this knowledge which has led them down the path of using a moving voice coil, as used in loudspeakers, in preference to the moving magnet employed in other linear compressors. These voice coil actuators are designed to produce higher forces over larger distances or “strokes”.
At the present time, the RayMacCompressor is said to be operating at an efficiency level that is 30% higher than typical compressors. McKenzie and Chaney are confident that, with additional research and testing, the unit’s efficiency can reach up to 50%.
The main hurdle at this point is funding. McKenzie needs about $55,000 for further testing and development as well as production equipment, agency Approvals (UL, CE, and FCC) and marketing.
In order to generate this capital, McKenzie and Chaney have launched a Kickstarter campaign, which can be viewed at www.kickstarter.com. The RayMacCompressor website is at www.raymaccompressors.com.