So, what is this all about?

On this page you will find information about our turbocharger testing and development project, the best starting point is here. To see information each area, or on upcoming shows, click on the work and events tab above! Please also check out our Twitter and Youtube pages for the latest updates, images and videos.

In recent years the market share of variable geometry turbochargers has been increasing steadily due to the trends of engine downsizing driving development in the field. For more information on these factors which motivate the development of turbocharging technology, see here.

It can be very difficult to find reliable market data without paying thousands of pounds for marketing reports from professional marketing companies. However for the purpose of illustration some data can be obtained freely to describe how variable geometry devices have been taking control of the turbocharging market. The chart below plots the advance of VGT (Also known as VNT, Variable Nozzle Turbocharger) from the early 1990's up until 2010. It can be clearly seen that VNT (VGT) technology makes up a vast section of the diesel market, but only 10% of the gasoline market. This is down to challenges associated with applying variable geometry turbo technology to the high temperature exhaust gases present in gasoline engines, which can be up to 1050 degrees Celsius.

For automotive purposes a big push is underway to downsize engines whilst maintaining vehicle performance; this trend drives the development of automotive turbochargers and VGT in particular. The table below highlights the expected growth in automotive turbochargers in various markets around the world, although figures in USA are constantly being revised upwards due to the introduction of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations.

Emissions regulations such as this are the driving force behind turbocharger development and the introduction of additional technologies such as variable geometry and electrically assisted devices. There is considerable variation in regulations around the world and changes in these local regulations have a large impact on the turbocharger sales in those areas. The figures below show the change in regulations with specific details for the european market and upcoming Euro6 regulations, as well as the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle). The Euro6, which will come into power in 2014, brings Europe in line with Japan in terms of NOx emissions and marginally reduces the allowable amounts of particulate matter.

It is also important to note how changes to due to the NEDC will effect how these emissions are measured. The new test contains many transient operations and higher vehicle speeds than previously, this means turbochargers will have to have better performance at low flow rates of exhaust gas. This is the reason for developing VGT devices; variable geometry provides big benefits of regular turbocharging at low loads, and can almost eliminate turbo lag when fully optimised.

Marketing reports can be few and far between for technical areas such as turbocharging, and those that are readily available cost a small fortune, at the time of writing the only readily available reports to individuals will set you back around $2500-5000 for a single user license.

With that in mind we have gathered together as much information as possible from other available sources here in this article, some key references are listed at the bottom of the page.

First and foremost, turbocharging as in industry is on the rise. Global trends in engine downsizing for efficiency gains and reduced emissions are driving the demand for smaller engines, which in turn require turbocharging in order to maintain performance levels. There are a number of options for engine manufacturers to chose from at varying cost, with fixed geometry turbines the simplest and cheapest solution.

Fixed geometry turbochargers have the infamous of problem of slow spooling up, and lack of performance at low RPM ranges. Turbo lag is a commonly used phrase to describe the sensation of very poor transient response from a turbocharger at low engine speeds. A solution to this problem is variable geometry turbocharging (VGT).

The main companies in the Turbocharging and VGT markets are shown in the market breakdown below for various applications:

Great news! Following a few days of tinkering with the experimental setup, we are ready to do some testing on the Holset Turbocharger.

We plan to do 2 types of test:

1) Measuring velocity at the vanes

For this we have to remove the turbine wheel itself and use a pitot tube to measure the velocity at the tip of the vanes in order to draw theoretical velocity triangles to determine turbine performance.

2) Full turbocharger test

For this testing mode we will connect up a custom made oil system for lubrication, along with a calibrated air system for setting the rack position in the VGT. We designed each of these systems ourselves for ease of use when testing. Once setup we plan to measure mass flow, pressure, temperature and turbine shaft rotational speed so that we can determine performance parameters for the compressor side of the turbocharger.

Below is a video of the first time we got the full turbocharger running:

Good news for the new year, testing plans are taking shape, and prototype models have been submitted for 3d printing from ABS plastic. Each part required some modifications for the testing facility, a new post will follow as soon as we have them detailing whats going to happen next! 

Some excellent CAD work here showing the vanes and vane rings of the HY40-V with some dimensions and rendering effects. These models will be used as part of the CFD and FEA models for analysis of the benchmark product:

Holset HY40-V Vane

Holset HY40-V Nozzle Ring

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