Craig Balis, Honeywell’s chief technology officer for transportation system business, says electrification is coming to turbochargers in regular passenger cars. These e-turbos won’t just boost engine performance, they will also generate electricity, lightening the load on the alternator and helping to improve fuel economy. Balis spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett.
Q: There is some debate about how to refer to electrically driven boosting devices. Are they e-turbos or electric superchargers?
A: When you hear “electric supercharger,” that is a motor driving a compressor, and that is added to an engine that’s already turbocharged. So it is an additional device. With an electric turbocharger, what we mean is, instead of having a separate motor on a separate device, we put the motor on the shaft turbocharger.
Is Honeywell active in both types?
Yes, we are. I can give you two examples we have on the road and track today. In Formula One, Ferrari is racing with electric turbochargers made by Honeywell. So it’s a motor on the shaft of the turbo. The Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle is boosted by an electric supercharger that is also made by Honeywell.
In addition to the electric motor eliminating turbo lag, what other advantages does it offer?
The e-turbo is still using exhaust gas, but it is using the electric motor to spool up the turbo faster. When you have excess exhaust gas, you can run the motor in generating mode. You can extract the energy out of that exhaust gas, create electricity and feed it back into the vehicle network. That’s what we call an e-turbo.
Would an e-charger have fewer technical challenges than a traditional exhaust gas-driven turbo, since it would not be subjected to the same level of heat?
That’s why people have gravitated to this concept. You are running at lower speeds. A typical turbocharger will run at between 200,000 and 300,000 rpm, while an electric turbocharger can run at 100,000 rpm. So it’s more challenging to make an electric turbo. But it brings other advantages — and fewer parts, because you’re not adding an extra package to the engine. And then you get the additional functionality of being able to generate electricity.
How much electricity can an e-turbo generate?
It really depends on the application. In a passenger vehicle application, you can think of it generating anywhere between a few hundred watts to a kilowatt, depending on the driving cycle. That sounds kind of small, but each 100 or 200 watts of energy can replace the same amount you’re pulling off the alternator. That becomes fuel economy for the vehicle.
When will we see an e-turbo on the market in a passenger car?
There are electric superchargers out now, and you’ll see a few more of those coming in the next few years.
But the e-turbo is a bit more challenging. I would say in the next four years you will see an e-turbo on the market. We’re working on both single and twin e-turbo applications.
With diesel engines in trouble in Europe and under pressure here, have we seen the end of growth for turbochargers?
No. Not at all.
What’s the outlook for turbochargers in the years ahead?
About 40 percent of the 100 million engines a year manufactured are turbocharged. By 2025, that should increase by 5-10 percent; by 2030, it should increase another 5 percent. So, the market for turbochargers will grow from 40 percent to about 60 percent globally by 2030. When you put all of that together, roughly 20 million turbos a year will be added to the market by 2030.
Fuente: Automotive News