Alex Hutchison makes operational adjustments to the pilot scale hydraulic air compressor (HAC) that has recently been relocated to the Glencore Sustainable Energy Centre at Cambrian College.
The system comprises three tanks: a header tank (upper platform), a tail race tank (intermediate level) and a separator tank (at the bottom). The header and separator are connected with a downcomer pipe in which the inducted gas is compressed by the water. The separator tank is a gravity separator; the water flow is slowed, and the buoyancy of the bubbles lifts the air to the top of this vessel to form a compressed air plenum. Water (only) underflow from the separator passes up the so-called riser pipe to the tail race tank. A lift pump replenishes the water in the header tank by drawing water from the tail race tank so that a circuit is formed.
This system has been fabricated entirely from transparent polycarbonate so that the gas compression process is visible. For these new accommodations, the next step for this “Baby HAC” is to reinstall the mass flow, pressure and temperature instrumentation. Our HIDEN Biosteam mass spectrometer gas analyzer has already been taken over to this lab and will provide us with real time determinations of the compressed gas chemistry.