A rotary-regenerator heat exchanger designed by Wilson TurboPower Inc. will be used by Praxair to improve the oxy-fuel combustion process. Danbury, Conn.-based Praxair inked an agreement to license Wilson’s technology to provide the exchanger’s capabilities to its oxygen customers.

The heat exchanger is the first practical ceramic thermal regenerator and offers high-efficiency performance, high operating temperatures, high durability and compact size, says Bruce Anderson, CEO and co-founder of Wilson. The company reports that its heat exchanger produces a heat-transfer efficiency of 98 percent and can operate at temperatures exceeding 1,800°F (982°C), which is above the efficiencies and operating temperatures of metal heat exchangers.

By commercializing two energy technologies developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wilson resolved the previous practical limitations of wear and leakage inherent in earlier regeneration designs. Instead of the regenerator core rotating at a steady speed with duct seals pressed against the core faces, which promotes wear and leakage, the Wilson heat exchanger uses a proprietary indexed-rotation device to incrementally reposition the core. Woburn, Mass.-based Wilson TurboPower was founded in 2001 to commercialize technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

Use of the equipment in Praxair’s application should reduce operating costs, save space and increase productivity and throughput, says Anderson. And, according to Stewart Mehlman, Praxair’s director of licensing, alliances and emerging technology, “The high operating temperature and efficiency of the Wilson system will give our customers a more efficient combustion process to reduce fuel consumption at a lower cost than current methods.”