Patents by Inventor Donald C. Erickson

Donald C. Erickson has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Publication number: 20150144076
    Abstract: A heat recovery vapor trap is provided for removal of vapor condensate from a container, while preventing any appreciable escape of vapor, and for achieving beneficial heat recovery from said condensate prior to temperature degradation associated with depressurization, whereby useful heating to much higher temperature is possible. The trap is indirect acting, and is preferably mechanically actuated by a float.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 13, 2014
    Publication date: May 28, 2015
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6895740
    Abstract: An integrated steam-ammonia power cycle is disclosed which achieves a close match to a glide heat source such as exhaust from a gas turbine, and which also eliminates sub-atmospheric pressure operation. With reference to FIG. 1, the exhaust heats in sequence steam superheater 107; steam boiler 105; feedwater preheater 104 plus ammonia superheater 103; and ammonia preheater 102. Steam is expanded to at least 17 psia in turbine 108, then condensed to boil ammonia in boiler 110. Superheated ammonia is expanded in turbine 112, and condensed in condenser 114. Feed ammonia is preheated in at least two parallel preheaters.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 21, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 24, 2005
    Inventor: Donald C Erickson
  • Publication number: 20040139747
    Abstract: An integrated steam-ammonia power cycle is disclosed which achieves a close match to a glide heat source such as exhaust from a gas turbine, and which also eliminates sub-atmospheric pressure operation. With reference to FIG. 1, the exhaust heats in sequence steam superheater 107; steam boiler 105; feedwater preheater 104 plus ammonia superheater 103; and ammonia preheater 102. Steam is expanded to at least 17 psia in turbine 108, then condensed to boil ammonia in boiler 110. Superheated ammonia is expanded in turbine 112, and condensed in condenser 114. Feed ammonia is preheated in at least two parallel preheaters.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 21, 2003
    Publication date: July 22, 2004
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6739119
    Abstract: An improvement to an energy conversion engine in which fuel is combusted with compressed air is disclosed. Referring to FIG. 3, the inlet air to compressor (30) is chilled in chiller (34) sufficiently to condense moisture. The moisture is pressurized and routed to at least one of chilled inlet fogger (312) and compressed air sprayer (314). Engine exhaust heats an absorption refrigeration unit once-through generator (316), which supplies the refrigeration to chiller (34).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 25, 2004
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6715290
    Abstract: Apparatus and process for distilling a fluid mixture using low temperature glide heat are disclosed. A substantial portion of the glide heat is at a temperature lower than the peak distillation temperature. The disclosure achieves a maximal amount of distillative effect from a given heat source. Applications include absorption refrigeration and absorption power cycles. Referring to FIG. 1, column 104 and desorber 105 distill fluid in conduit 101 using low temperature glide heat. Divider 108 proportions fluid between them.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 6, 2004
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6679083
    Abstract: A sorber comprised of at least three concentric coils of tubing contained in a shell with a flow path for liquid sorbent in one direction, a flow path for heat transfer fluid which is in counter-current heat exchange relationship with sorbent flow, a sorbate vapor port in communication with at least one of sorbent inlet or exit ports, wherein each coil is coiled in opposite direction to those coils adjoining it, whereby the opposed slant tube configuration is achieved, with structure for flow modification in the core space inside the innermost coil.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 2002
    Date of Patent: January 20, 2004
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6631892
    Abstract: A vapor-liquid contactor includes a plurality of vertically stacked trays (151) within a containment column, the central downcomer (152) provides a liquid supply and removal area at the same location on each tray (151), so that the horizontal liquid flow pattern is the same on each tray (151). The contactor also includes vertical partitions (154) positioned transverse to the liquid flow within the vapor space of each tray (151) to minimize vapor mixing. The trays (151) may also include an indirect heat exchanger in the form of tubing arrays (208).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 14, 2003
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Publication number: 20030121268
    Abstract: An improvement to an energy conversion engine in which fuel is combusted with compressed air is disclosed. Referring to FIG. 3, the inlet air to compressor (30) is chilled in chiller (34) sufficiently to condense moisture. The moisture is pressurized and routed to at least one of chilled inlet fogger (312) and compressed air sprayer (314). Engine exhaust heats an absorption refrigeration unit once-through generator (316), which supplies the refrigeration to chiller (34).
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 31, 2001
    Publication date: July 3, 2003
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6585238
    Abstract: A vapor-liquid tray is provided which achieves markedly higher vapor loading and tray efficiency at all liquid loadings, and with little or no increase in pressure drop. Vapor loading is increased via a multiplicity of locally co-current liquid recirculating compartments, preferably with diagonal structure producing diagonal co-currency. Tray efficiency is increased by highly effective horizontal staging via a convergent-divergent liquid flowpath, preferably with structurally integrated tray downcomers. The advantageous features are also applicable individually. Referring to FIG. 16, symmetric tray partitions 1602 separate the active area of tray 1601 into a central section and two peripheral sections. The peripheral sections have tray downcomers 1615 and tray weirs 1617. The central section tray weir is 1632. Compartment partitions 1613 divide the liquid flowpaths into multiple compartments, each having compartment weir 1613 with liquid recirculation passages 1633.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2003
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6584801
    Abstract: An absorption system powered by low temperature heat for producing at least one of refrigeration and power is disclosed, wherein a low-pressure drop heat reclaimer 1 reclaims heat from the source into a heating agent, which in turn supplies heat to the absorption cycle desorber 5 via internal coils 7. The extra temperature differential normally present in closed cycle heating systems is avoided by using the absorption working fluid as the heating agent, in an integrated system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2003
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6412291
    Abstract: The efficiency and capacity of an air compressor (10) (FIG. 1) are increased by pre-cooling the inlet air to below the dew point in air chiller (11), and then injecting the resulting condensate into the chilled air in the form of fog-sized droplets in a fogger (16). The advantages extend to combustion engines, and especially to regenerative combustion turbines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 2, 2002
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Publication number: 20020069665
    Abstract: An absorption system powered by low temperature heat for producing at least one of refrigeration and power is disclosed, wherein a low-pressure drop heat reclaimer 1 reclaims heat from the source into a heating agent, which in turn supplies heat to the absorption cycle desorber 5 via internal coils 7. The extra temperature differential normally present in closed cycle heating systems is avoided by using the absorption working fluid as the heating agent, in an integrated system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 12, 2000
    Publication date: June 13, 2002
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6269644
    Abstract: An absorption power cycle is disclosed which achieves a closer match to heat source temperature glide, and also lower heat source exit temperatures, and hence higher conversion efficiencies, in practical equipment. Referring to FIG. 7, two separate absorbers (725 and 706) are provided, each with a pumping path for a different concentration absorbent liquid to a different temperature location within counter-current high-pressure desorber 721. Heat source 710 heats the high-pressure desorber 721 and superheater 724 in parallel, and subsequently heats intermediate-pressure desorber 761. Dotted lines in the figures signify vapor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2001
    Inventors: Donald C. Erickson, Gopalakrishnan Anand
  • Patent number: 6203718
    Abstract: A corrosion-inhibited working fluid for an aqueous ammonia absorption cycle apparatus is charged with an alkali metal base in the concentration range of 0.0003 to 0.0063 moles per liter of water. A process for controlling corrosion and hydrogen generation in the aqueous ammonia absorption cycle apparatus is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2001
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 6158241
    Abstract: LPG and gasoline are recovered from catalytic reformer plant treat gas and net gas by refrigeration-induced condensation and separation, using reformer plant waste heat to produce the refrigeration in an ammonia absorption refrigeration unit. Referring to FIG. 2, reformer waste heat from exchanger 21 powers absorption refrigeration unit 22, which supplies refrigeration to chiller 25. Net gas and treat gas is recuperatively cooled in recuperator 24, chilled in chiller 25, and separated in separator 26. Absorption refrigeration may also be supplied to cool FCC compressor inlet vapor to below ambient, either in conjunction with treat gas chilling or independently. Other waste heat streams may also be used.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 1, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 12, 2000
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 5798086
    Abstract: An intensified means of multicomponent fluid multistage vapor-liquid contact is disclosed. The contactor achieves the thermodynamic advantages of global countercurrency, the tray efficiency advantages of tray crosscurrency, and the point efficiency advantages of local cocurrency with liquid recirculation. Referring to FIG. 6, each tray has multiple compartments formed by compartment dividers 62, 63, and 64, and each compartment has a channel divider 69, 66, 67 which forms separate locally cocurrent riser channels and liquid downcomer channels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1998
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 5771710
    Abstract: The absorption step of a continuous absorption cycle apparatus (refrigerator or heat pump) is externally cooled by an air-cooled thermosyphon having hot end 107 (FIG. 1), air-cooled end 115, and reservoir 123. The absorption step is further recuperatively cooled by internal fluids, in absorber heat exchanger 108 and/or GAX 109. Thus the absorber is highly compact and the cycle is highly efficient. A hotter hermetic thermosyphon can advantageously supply additional cooling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 30, 1998
    Assignee: Gas Research Institute
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 5766519
    Abstract: An absorber for absorbing a vapor into a sorbent liquid comprised of a sequential plurality of highly effective and intensified locally cocurrent sorptions, but with non-cocurrent flow of vapor and liquid between the individual sorptions. The structure containing the locally cocurrent upflow is preferably comprised of enhanced heat transfer surface, making the sorption diabatic, further enhancing the intensification, and improving the sorption efficiency. Referring to FIG. 1, vertical cylinders (1) and (2) form an annulus which is divided into multiple compartments by partitions. Vapor is injected into the bottom portion of each compartment by injection ports (10), resulting in cocurrent upflow absorption. The compartments are pressure equalized with a common vapor space via equalization ports (6). This approach to absorption can be accomplished in a vertical cylindrical annulus as described above, in a horizontal cylindrical annulus, in plate fin exchangers, and others.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 16, 1998
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 5713216
    Abstract: A non-diabatic vapor-liquid contact device is disclosed which achieves high heat transfer effectiveness without sacrificing mass transfer effectiveness. Referring to FIG. 2, a helical coil of crested tubing 84 is contained within the annualr space between shrouds 82 and 83. Liquid flows downward through the annulus, and vapor flows countercurrently upward. The mass exchanging fluids pass through the space between tube crests and the shroud, achieving very effective mixing. Heat transfer fluid is flowed through the tubing via connections 87 and 88.The heat and mass transfer is preferably additionally enhanced by interspersing contact media with the coiled tubing, either longitudinally or radially.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 3, 1998
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson
  • Patent number: 5660049
    Abstract: A sorber for sorbing a vapor into (absorber) or out of (desorber) a liquid sorbent comprised of a sequential plurality of highly effective and intensified locally cocurrent sorptions, but with non-cocurrent flow of vapor and liquid between the individual sorptions. The structure containing the locally cocurrent upflow is preferably comprised of enhanced heat transfer surface, making the sorption diabatic, further enhancing the intensification, and improving the sorption efficiency. Referring to FIG. 12 , vertical cylinders (70) and (71) form an annular space within which desorption occurs, powered by external heat source (72) and internal heat recuperation (77). The liquid portion of the annulus is divided into multiple compartments by folded rectangular fin (73). The space above fin (73) allows pressure equalization of all compartments. Each compartment is divided by insert (80) into separate vapor-liquid riser channels and a liquid downcomer channel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 26, 1997
    Inventor: Donald C. Erickson