• Ron Conry (Pic credit: AIRAH)
    Ron Conry (Pic credit: AIRAH)

The inventor of the Turbocor compressor, Ron Conry, has been awarded the Member of the Order of Australia medal for his contribution to HVACR.

While the benefits of air conditioning and refrigeration are enormous, they do not come without a significant cost to the environment. It is estimated that 20 per cent of global power consumption is attributed to air conditioning resulting in billions of tonnes of CO2 emissions globally each year.

For over 100 years, air conditioning technology remained relatively unchanged until Ron Conry, a refrigeration technician by trade, made a difference.

Conry started the design process by literally taking a blank sheet of paper and jotting down all of the issues that plagued all the machines he had ever worked on throughout his career.

He then set about solving these with his new compressor. Having been in the industry for over 25 years, Conry was acutely aware that the Achilles heel of the industry was the compressors need for lubrication and eliminating oil became top of that list. Also on his list were efficiency, refrigerant type (for environmental sustainability), size, noise, vibration, weight, and cost but the biggest challenge was going to be the oil.

Drawing from inspiration he had seen in a turbo charger in 1984, Conry decided this new compressor, now known as the Turbocor compressor, would need to be a small micro turbine machine. Having spent most of 1993 researching, he knew that the technology he would need did not yet exist but recognised the bones of what he envisaged.

In 1994 Conry put together a team to turn his revolutionary concept into reality.

Thus began what would be one of the biggest undertakings of his career, a development process that took about seven years, in which he invented more than a dozen new technologies to solve various problems.

He was told many times by many world experts, and by their text books, that what he was doing was impossible. Fortunately his incredible problem solving skills, belief in himself and grit and determination eventually paid off and the oil-free, magnetic bearing Turbocor compressor was born. This compressor was the first significant leap forward in the industry for a century.

Over the past 20 years Conry’s compressor technology has become dominant building efficiencies to unprecedented levels and saving approximately a gigaton, or a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions. It hasn’t just been installed in Australia but all over the world with well 100,000 of these compressors now operating globally.

This project is just one of many successful, problem solving, revolutionary inventions Conry has created.

Despite his enormous contributions to making the world more sustainable, Conry is not resting on his laurels.

In the past Ron has simply focused on one component of the air conditioning system at a time. However, in his latest venture, Conry Tech, he is reinventing air-conditioning from the ground up and has once again filled a “blank piece of paper”. Conry believes that his new approach will save another gigaton (a billion tonnes) of CO2 emissions and he is in the process of raising funding to bring his latest technology to market.

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