Professor Eckhard Groll, who has made unique contributions in the field of positive displacement compressor analysis, is the 2018 winner of the Institute of Refrigeration J & E Hall Gold Medal.

In more than 23 years at Purdue University, Indiana, US, Groll has led teams whose work has benefited heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industries across the globe. Together with his colleagues and graduate students, he has developed detailed and comprehensive simulation models of hermetic PD compressors, including scroll, rolling piston, reciprocating, linear, rotating spool, bowtie and S-RAM using different working fluids including HFCs, HFOs and natural refrigerants.

Professor Groll, aged 54, said, “I am very excited to receive this award particularly considering the history of J & E Hall and the fact that the company was the inventor of the first CO2 compressor. I have worked in this area throughout my academic career at Purdue. The link is absolutely fascinating for me.”

The models have been used extensively by his research sponsors to improve existing compressors or develop new ones. They consider all aspects of the compressor – such as the geometry, thermodynamic governing equations, internal leakage analysis, suction and discharge valve loss analysis based on valve dynamics.

One of the first comprehensive models Professor Groll and his team developed focused on predicting the performance of horizontal hermetic scroll compressors. The research enabled Panasonic to successfully develop a new version of their scroll compressor, the e-scroll, in the early 2000s.

He is currently working on achieving isothermal compression processes in linear and twin screw compressors by 3D printing internal cooling loops inside the critical compression parts to achieve hot-spot cooling.

Professor Groll said, “I know many of the accomplished people who have won this award over the past decade or so and I feel I am being elevated into an elite group. I love this job. I am also educating students, and this has always been at the forefront of everything I do.”