Our founders have been passionate about developing turbomachinery and systems for the power generation and energy industries since the company’s inception. BN has tackled wide-ranging applications such as electric-assist turbochargers, oilfield downhole turbine generators, Rankine and Brayton-cycle power systems, fuel cell blowers, supercritical carbon dioxide power systems, and more for over 55 years. Our passion for developing technology that will result in more energy-efficient living continues with the talented people driving the company forward today.
Barber-Nichols is working to remediate the hard-to-abate carbon emissions from industries like aircraft, mining, and rail that can benefit from using liquid hydrogen as a direct fuel and for electrical power generation on mobility platforms. Barber-Nichols Liquid Hydrogen Pumps are being deployed at an international airport to serve as a pilot for fueling commercial hydrogen-fueled aircraft. This critical hydrogen transportation infrastructure will be vital to the hydrogen economy and reducing greenhouse gases from our environment.
Barber-Nichols is proud to be part of the energy transformation to cleaner and more economical air travel and transportation solutions.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology
Fuel cell technology has the potential to play a significant role in decarbonizing various sectors of the economy, including transportation, energy production, and industrial processes. They are electrochemical devices that convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy without combustion. When hydrogen is fed into a fuel cell, it reacts with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, water, and heat as byproducts.
BN has a long history of developing turbomachinery for fuel cell systems, including:
- Air & Anode Gas Recirculation Compressors for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells – Aerospace and Automotive Applications
- Air Compressors for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) – Distributed Energy Applications
- Cooling Pumps for PEM Fuel Cells – Manned Space Flight Applications
Using high-power density rotating machines, BN products increase fuel cell efficiency and provide cost-effective thermal management solutions for equipment operating in some of the most demanding environments.
Modern Nuclear Technology
Nuclear reactors of the future will utilize modern fuels, which are inherently safer than what has been used in power plants of the past. TRISO fuel is one example, in which uranium fuel is encapsulated in several layers of carbon and ceramic material to prevent the release of radioactive products and can withstand very high temperatures that far exceed the nuclear fuels that have historically been used. High-temperature reactors currently in development rely on heat-tolerant fuels and require turbomachinery that can handle the extreme temperatures transport fluids such as molten salt and gaseous helium experience in these systems.
Barber-Nichols has significantly contributed to the micro-nuclear and small modular reactor markets by designing and manufacturing critical pumps and compressors for primary heat transportation in these systems. As thought leaders in these sectors, BN has successfully leveraged specific technologies that meet the safety, cleanliness, and operational life demanded by these systems.
Modern nuclear technology is poised to provide reliable electricity to augment existing traditional grid-power generation and support critical functions in locations with limited access to traditional power sources. It can play a crucial role in reducing emissions from industries that are difficult to decarbonize. Barber-Nichols is dedicated to actively supporting these efforts and helping industries transition to clean energy for a more sustainable future.
Super Critical CO2 Applications
Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) is gaining traction as a transport fluid in power generation systems due to its unique thermodynamic properties and potential advantages in terms of efficiency and environmental impact. sCO2 is carbon dioxide maintained at a temperature and pressure above its critical point, exhibiting both gas-like and liquid-like properties. At supercritical conditions, carbon dioxide has a high density, low viscosity, and excellent compressibility, making it an ideal working fluid for energy conversion systems. The challenges presented when utilizing sCO2 include material compatibility at high temperatures and pressures and cost-effective turbomachinery design. Barber-Nichols has successfully built and tested entire sCO2 power generation systems, including the specialty turbomachinery, motor/generators, and controls.
- 10MW sCO2 Power Turbine
- 2.5MW sCO2 Turbopump
- 75KW sCO2 Turbine-Generator-Compressor
- sCO2 Circulators
Waste Heat & Geothermal Power Generation
Barber-Nichols has a long history in designing and producing waste heat and geothermal power generation equipment based on Organic Rankine Cycles (ORC) and Closed Brayton Cycles (CBC). These systems turn industrial waste and geothermal heat, as low as 115 °C (240 °F), into electrical energy. Products include:
- Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) Powered Turbine-Generators
- Flash Steam Powered Turbine-Generators
- Turbocompressors for the Removal of Non-Condensable Gas
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG)
Barber-Nichols designs and produces cryogenic Vapor Return Compressors for LNG terminals and Low Pressure LNG Fuel Pumps for high horsepower engine applications. Vapor Return Blowers transfer LNG vapor from the onshore storage facilities back to the ships for ullage pressure control during unloading. BN’s Vapor Return Blowers provide a variety of benefits including cold box insulation to eliminate ice build-up, proprietary thermal isolation features to allow rapid starts with a minimal chill down, and variable speed operation for enhanced control. LNG fuel pumps are compact, economical, and will endure thousands of start/stop cycles, providing many years of maintenance-free operation.
Barber-Nichols Model BNCP-66-000 LNG Vapor Return Compressor at Sempra Energy’s Energía Costa Azul LNG Terminal