Scroll compressors are efficient, reliable, and a fill a pressure/flow niche in the array of available compressor technologies. However, I have never seen one used the other direction for generating power from a compressed air source, steam, or power cycle. Any thoughts on why this might be the case? Any examples of one being used as a prime mover?

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    $\begingroup$ There seems to be a research paper in that direction, "Powered Reverse Running of Scroll Compressors" from Hugenroth and Barito, 1998: docs.lib.purdue.edu/icec/1285 $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ @OpticalResonator, Thanks! That helped me find the "scroll expander" vocab I needed. $\endgroup$
    – ericnutsch
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


Looks like "scroll expander" was the term I was looking for.

Still looks to be a pretty rare application, but here are some instances:

  1. Air Squared commercially available scroll expander
  2. Here is a good thesis from Oregon State University (direct pdf link).
  3. Some short Science Direct Excerpts

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