A tiny air compressor that was first developed for space travel has been adapted for commercial applications on Earth by Vert Rotors.

The new version of the VERT.04.W is a low-noise, low-vibration desktop compressor based on water injection. It produces clean air compressed to 115 psig, where the currently available low-vibration small compressors would struggle to produce more than 32psig.

Specifications:

  • Max pressure: 115 psig/8 barg
  • Flow rate at max pressure: 0.5 L/min
  • Power: 100W
  • Lubricant: water (closed cycle)
  • Coolant: air cooled

The VERT.04 technology first was unveiled as prototype satellite cooling system for the Ministry of Defence’s Centre for Defence Enterprise, which aims to improve significantly the quality of infrared imaging.

Vert’s miniature compressor uses water injection instead of machine oil, eliminating the risk of contamination. Oil injection is a traditional method used to achieve high energy efficiency, but oil particles can contaminate the air that’s being produced. Water is the clean alternative, but it is available only in much larger industrial-scale compressors. Small compressors, due to relatively larger clearances, could not achieve high efficiency using water, which has very low kinematic viscosity.

Vert solved this problem by using a conical screw design, with the male rotor revolving inside the female rotor. Since there is no stator, there is no clearance and the leakage flow is reduced to the minimum. Because of this the VERT.04.W does not depend on oil to cover the clearances, and achieves high energy efficiency even with water.

Water cools down the air flow, keeping the compressor below 40 degrees Celsius even when it reaches 115 psig/8barg. Dry compressors that climb to such pressures typically produce very hot air, around 200 C.

The VERT.04.W is the first compressor that can find its place on the end-user’s desk. First of all, water reduces noise level to the minimum. The VERT.04.W runs quietly, and does not distract its user from one’s main work.  Secondly, being a rotary compressor, the VERT.04.W reached its maximum pressure with virtually no vibration. This is a major difference with traditional reciprocating pumps that inherently generate vibrations.

Vert Rotors is continuing endurance tests and improvements of the VERT.04.W as we speak, and accepts commercial pre-orders in small batches. To order the VERT.04.W please contat [email protected]

Find this story at: Daily Record, Design Products and Applications, Scotsman, Innovators Magazine.