City, University of London and Howden secure grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering


Project is targeted at reducing leakages in rotating machinery by 20% and improving the efficiency of oil free screw compressors by 2%


Credit: City, University of London

City, University of London’s Centre for Compressor Technology and Howden Compressors will embark on a 5-year collaborative project – Smart Efficient Compression, Reliability and Energy Targets (SECRET) – which is supported by an award from The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) and led by Howden Chair in Engineering Design and Compressor Technology, Professor Ahmed Kovacevic.

This partnership will specifically look at the effect of clearances and heat transfer dynamics within the compressor and the resultant reduction in losses and gains in efficiency. The SECRET project is a continuation of the solid partnership between Howden and City, combining 30 years of Professor Ahmed Kovacevic’s research on screw compressors with Howdens market-leading technology, which is targeted at reducing leakages in rotating machinery by 20%, and improving the efficiency of oil free screw compressors by 2%, thus contributing to the European Union’s Global Net Zero CO2 emissions directive, which is line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015.

This project also contributes to advances in the development of Industry 4.0, in which the team seeks to transform traditional manufacturing and industrial practices with the latest smart technology. To realise this, the project will focus on the short-, medium- and long-term development of Howden’s oil-free screw compressors range.

The National Centre of Compressor Technologies will also jointly lead on research carried out by Howdens and City, which is expected to transform compression technology.

Professor Ahmed Kovacevic said:

“Howden introduced oil injected screw compressors in the 1950’s, and developed new technologies to extend the range of such machines. Today, the company offers over 700 variants of screw machines for numerous applications, including oil and gas, refrigeration, air conditioning, and processed gas. I am proud to have been closely allied with Howden for more than 12 years jointly introducing new rotor profiles and compressor sizes, which continues to serve their customers with better and more efficient machines. The Centre for Compressor Technologies which I direct at City, University of London is a world-leading research institute for these types of machines. With the support of Howden and the Royal Academy of Engineering, this project is destined to result in novel, more efficient, and reliable oil free machines. I am very excited about this opportunity.”

Dougie Latta, Global Product Director (Screw Compressors) said:

“At Howden we are constantly seeking to innovate the products and the services we provide. How we harness the strength of our engineering heritage with the adoption of new technologies and ways of servicing our customers is absolutely key to continued success and growth. We have a strong partnership with City University which will form the basis of this industrial and academic collaboration. With the prestigious support of the Royal Academy of Engineering and its wider network, we see this as a key enabler to further growth and the development of sustainable and efficient oil free compressor technologies. The team at Howden are very proud of this award and are excited about the part we can play in developing market leading solutions for many years to come”.


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