Copeland Introduces Oil-Free Centrifugal Compressor Featuring Innovative Aero-lift Bearing Technology

Date: 13 March 2024
Copeland Introduces Oil-Free Centrifugal Compressor Featuring Innovative Aero-lift Bearing Technology
Copeland, a global provider of sustainable climate solutions, today announced the release of its new oil-free centrifugal compressor with frictionless Aero-lift bearing technology. Engineered to be a worry-free alternative to existing magnetic levitation bearing and refrigerant-lubricated ceramic compression technology, the Copeland oil-free centrifugal compressor delivers high-lift performance, reliability, and efficiency enhancements in demanding chiller applications.

This new compressor will help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and industry stakeholders to simplify the application of oil-free compression technologies while meeting their next-generation requirements for high efficiency, system design flexibility, and compatibility with lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants.

Designed for mission-critical data center, health care, large chiller, and heat recovery applications, the Copeland oil-free centrifugal compressor raises the standards for air- and water-cooled chiller performance. Offering high reliability in full- and part-load conditions and an expanded operating envelope for high-ambient applications, the Copeland oil-free compressor delivers superior high-lift performance while helping the chiller industry migrate to more energy-efficient and sustainable technologies.

Groundbreaking Aero-lift bearing technology enables the compressor shaft to self-levitate and operate independently - without friction or reliance on electromagnetics, complex controls, or proximity sensors, which are required in today’s oil-free magnetic levitation bearing compressors. It delivers performance improvements during power interruptions, enabling the compressor to coast smoothly, shut down and restart rapidly to minimize application disruptions. This streamlined technological approach also eliminates the need for backup auxiliary bearings and maintains redundancy in these scenarios.

To meet the need for greater design and application flexibility, the Copeland oil-free centrifugal compressor is decoupled from the controls and variable frequency drive (VFD) - helping OEMs to design systems capable of withstanding harsh, humid application environments that could potentially damage controls. What’s more, its robust design makes it ideal for matching the high speeds necessary to support modern chiller requirements while maintaining reliable, robust performance. Because the compressor does not rely on oil to lubricate the system, associated applied costs, complexities and reliability concerns are greatly reduced.
This new oil-free centrifugal compressor platform is being developed for the 50- to 200-ton capacity range and is optimized for use with the next generation of lower-GWP A2L and A1 refrigerants such as R-1234ze, R-515B and R-513A. This helps address the upcoming GWP limits mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Technology Transitions rule under the authority of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. 

“Combined with Copeland’s legendary standards for reliability, compressor modulation expertise, and adaptive compressor control algorithms, the Copeland oil-free centrifugal compressor delivers improvements across key chiller performance metrics,” said Mike Oakley, director of centrifugal solutions, Copeland. “After thousands of hours of rigorous and extreme reliability testing, it has been proven to achieve up to a 10% increase in full-load efficiency versus other compression technologies in air-cooled applications. It also delivers up to a 40% efficiency increase in integrated part-load value - far exceeding the ASHRAE 90.1 efficiency minimum requirements for a two-compressor, 200-ton system, versus existing screw technology. This efficiency is made possible by integrating critical components, including Aero-lift bearing technology and numerous granted patents and patent-pending innovations on the compressor and the control.”

While actively working with OEMs and consultants to deploy the technology in the United States, Canada, and Latin America, Copeland plans to progressively expand the product globally.
Find out more on our website about: chiller, Copeland

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