The US Navy’s first Ford-class (CVN-78) aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R Ford, has been successfully installed with Chart Qdrive cryocooler technology.
The Qdrive acoustic-stirling liquefier is incorporated into the carrier’s on-board liquid oxygen generating plant, which has been developed by Rix Industries.
Chart Innovation and Engineering vice-president John Corey said: "Chart is proud to supply our advanced Qdrive liquefier technology and equipment to this first Navy installation by Rix Industries; bringing compact, reliable and efficient liquefaction capability to this critical shipboard system."
Rix Industries-led industry team has been sub-contracted by the US Navy and Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ (HII) to develop a next generation system to succeed the oversized, energy intensive distillation columns installed on all current US Navy nuclear powered aircraft carriers.
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The Chart Qdrive cryocooler technology is capable of producing liquid oxygen 20 minutes from start-up, and is approximately 50% of its predecessor in size and weight.
The liquefier is said to decrease ownership cost by reducing operational manpower and minimise maintenance, while delivering additional benefits such as safety, life-cycle, performance and control.
USS Gerald R Ford is currently in the final stages of construction and testing, which started in 2009.
It is scheduled to join the US Navy fleet in 2016. The second Ford-class warship, USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79), is scheduled to enter service in 2020.
The 1,092ft-long Gerald R Ford offers significant quality-of-life improvements and reduced maintenance, providing enhanced operational availability and capability to the navy.
Image: USS Gerald R Ford. Photo: courtesy of Chart Industries.