Significant usable energy is discarded as exhaust gas in most pneumatic processes. The ability to recycle this energy could lead to significant improvements in system efficiency. This paper presents a method of dynamically converting the exhaust gas energy of pneumatic systems to a higher pressure so that it may be reintroduced to the pressure supply and reused, boosting energy efficiency of industrial pneumatic systems. This is the pneumatic equivalent of a boost converter, an electrical system that supplies a greater voltage to a load than the power source can supply. Each component of the electrical system can be analogized to an equivalent pneumatic component. The most apparent of these comparisons is the method of storing and transforming energy. In the electrical system, the energy is stored in an inductor which is charged in a closed loop. In the pneumatic system, energy can be stored as momentum. When this stored energy is discharged, a spike in voltage or pressure will be observed in the electrical or pneumatic system, respectively. Similarly, every component of the electrical boost converter can be linked to a pneumatic counterpart. With these relationships fully understood, a device to perform the pneumatic boost conversion is modeled. Successful realization of this result will confirm the analogy between the electrical and pneumatic systems, which will allow for the development of more complex pneumatic systems based on various well understood electrical converters. This paper presents simulations of both electrical and pneumatic boost converters. Insights regarding the energy conversion and its efficiency are drawn from the pneumatic model as well as from the dynamically similar electrical model.
- Fluid Power Systems and Technology Division
Dynamic Equivalence of Pneumatic and Electrical Boost Converters for Exhaust Gas Energy Reclamation
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Gibson, TJ, & Barth, EJ. "Dynamic Equivalence of Pneumatic and Electrical Boost Converters for Exhaust Gas Energy Reclamation." Proceedings of the BATH/ASME 2016 Symposium on Fluid Power and Motion Control. BATH/ASME 2016 Symposium on Fluid Power and Motion Control. Bath, UK. September 7–9, 2016. V001T01A045. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/FPMC2016-1786
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