Current turbocharger selection methods for internal combustion engines do not take into account the true engine operating conditions. The turbocharger is continuously fed with highly unsteady exhaust flow from a reciprocating engine. This unsteady flow significantly deteriorates the performance of the turbocharger.
This new concept aims to harness the engine exhaust energy by using a Rotating Vane Turbine (RVT) where the nozzle ring rotates at a speed with an of the same order as the engine exhaust pulse frequency. The concept is relatively simple in that by rotating the inlet nozzle ring it is possible to improve the angle of the exhaust gases that propel the turbine rotor. The mechanical activation system moves the nozzle to optimise the turbocharger performance by closely matching the engine requirements at any point in time.
This concept creates the opportunity to resize the turbocharger whilst maintaining the engine capacity or to downsize the engine providing higher boost while achieving the same engine power output.
Modelling and initial aerodynamic testing indicate that turbocharger turbine average efficiency can be improved by 8-15 percentage points depending on turbine operation conditions. A resizing of the turbine can be thus proposed leading to a reduction of engine pumping loss. A Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) improvements of between 2% and 3% can be anticipated.
It is considered that this technology will be applicable across the whole range of turbo applications from automotive through to large static power and marine applications
Imperial internal funding and a CSC scholarship has supported the research in computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling and preliminary aerodynamic testing. The IDT concept is patented by Imperial Innovation (published WO2014184542). The team at Imperial are now seeking investment and/or industrial partners to assist in development of the new turbocharger through transient dynamometer and in vehicle testing. Leading the team at Imperial is Prof Ricardo Martinez-Botas , one of the world’s foremost authorities on fluid dynamics in turbochargers.
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