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.
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.