Turbines, Camshafts, Turbos

The week will be very fuel-heavy, promise! Almost no electric cars and we strive for balanced coverage. Because the world of mobility is changing rapidly, we are starting the revolutions that are looming. And somehow in the end everything has to do with Saab - at least a little. We fade back into the past. The times were rough in 2011. The public focus again and again was Eric Geers, Director Communication at Saab Automobile AB.

Eric Geers, Director Communication, Saab Automobile AB.
Eric Geers, Director Communication, Saab Automobile AB.

Most of what he had to say was bad news, and his job wasn't envied. But he was always sovereign; In retrospect, I have great respect for his performance. After Saab came Qoros and thus more than 3 years in China. For him, as for many Europeans, Qoros is the past. Maybe a little early. More on this at the end of the article.

For Geers, who has since founded his own communications company, there is a new challenge. It's electric, so extreme that it could be better described as electrifying.

Geers works for Techrules, a Chinese company working on next-generation high-performance electric vehicles. The focus is on the power density, the ability to provide peak power, and not the energy density. The system works with a serial hybrid drive with a turbine generator, which generates electricity as a range extender from a microturbine. The first development prototype has an output of 768 KW / 1.044 PS, regulates at 350 km / h, and has a range of more than 2.000 kilometers. In plug-in operation, only 0,18 liters should be consumed per 100 kilometers. Kerosene - not a common gasoline, because much of this new technology comes from aircraft construction.

Techrules electric super sports car with serial hybrid
Techrules electric super sports car with serial hybrid

The thing with the turbine generator, which is supposed to bring a consumption advantage of 50% compared to the conventional range extender, is interesting and not a pipe dream. The series version should cover 150 kilometers with batteries, then the high-performance athlete's range extender steps in. Techrules is currently exploring production sites in Europe and plans to start manufacturing the series product in the EU in 3 years. This press release provides detailed information about exciting technology with an aircraft background.

A range extender turbine generator would go well with the Saab brand if it made a comeback. It would be the beginning of an exciting revolution. Just as the turbo used to be - but it is also not the past.

Continental catalytic converter with turbocharger.
Continental catalytic converter with turbocharger.

Why the turbo lives on.

Modern 3-Wege catalysts achieve in the NOx-Conversion efficiencies by 99%. That is not enough for the future, the missing percentage must be eliminated as completely as possible in order to meet future standards. In order to secure the future, there is a new solution for Otto turbo engines. She comes from Germany from Continental. Before the reconstruction, the Lower Saxony were partners of NEVS. We don't know whether it is still the case at the moment, Trollhättan is far.

The magic word: ring catalyst. Simply put, there is a ring inside the catalyst that extends the length of the pipe. This allows the catalyst to be placed very close to the engine, the temperature to the NOxConversion is achieved faster, the wastegate gas from the turbocharger contributes to better exhaust gas mixing in the inner tube. Continental speaks of almost 100% conversion, the details are here accessible.

Turbo engines are getting cleaner, and while the future should be electric, why not dream of a turbo made by Trollhättan? Or from a turbine engine. Or from another Swedish innovation.

Qoros Concept with FreeValve technology from Sweden. Picture: Koenigsegg
Qoros Concept with FreeValve technology from Sweden. Picture: Koenigsegg

Why Qoros lives on

In the past, some Swedish media described Qoros as an alternative for Saab drivers ... back when European plans were still in place. I never understood why. Perhaps they never liked Saab, which was at least the case with some large-print sheets.

Qoros delivers rock-solid goods and is now unusually innovative. At the Beijing Auto Show, the Chinese are showing for the first time a concept vehicle that works without camshafts. The valve drive is electro-hydraulic; Camshafts, toothed belts and throttle valves are no longer necessary. The engine is flatter, consumption is reduced, and output increases.

The innovation does not come from China, it comes from Ängelholm. The Koenigsegg subsidiary FreeValve AB is responsible for the development; it was first tested in a Saab engine. Another smart innovation that would have gone well with Saab. In the years from 2010 to 11 there were some fantasies for a possible use in a new generation of Saab vehicles. When it is ready for series production, you can tell that Saab is no longer there, the innovation is celebrating its premiere in Chinese vehicles. A success for Ängelholm - with a sad aftertaste. The details are on the Koenigsegg Blog read by Steven Wade.

Is the turbo dead? The burner? Is the microturbine the exciting alternative? Optimizations show what is possible. The drives of the future will be more diverse than we can imagine.

12 thoughts on "Turbines, Camshafts, Turbos"

  • Sometimes I have to smile a little when the auto industry comes up with such "reinventions". In shipping and other industries, much of the standard is long.

    Audi "invented" some time ago the electric auxiliary blower to always have enough boost pressure. I have not tracked whether it is now installed, but have the MAN MAN Diesel (6 Cyl., 9500 PS) already met 1982 and there it was not new.
    In 1992 I took a new ship from the shipyard, which at the time had a very modern Burmeister & Wain 2-stroke diesel with an exhaust valve. A Danish engine with six cylinders and almost 5000 hp. In contrast to the older B&W engines, the exhaust valve was no longer operated via a huge rocker arm, but hydraulically. At that time, however, the hydraulics were still controlled via a timing chain and camshaft. That was a great engine that I really enjoyed driving. The next expansion stage of B&W about 15 years ago has fully electronically controlled hydraulic valve trains WITHOUT camshafts.

    Incidentally, you do not have to imagine this 2-cycle diesel as a mixed-use Trabi, this is the latest engine technology, because the fuel consumption is deducted directly from the profit!

    Since diesel engines cannot grow indefinitely (currently the largest are at 110.000 hp), several turbos are used at the same time. These not only ensure sufficient charge air, but also operate turbo generators, which provide additional electrical power to the propeller. Today these are the motors with the highest thermal efficiency (up to approx. 55%) and a specific consumption of 160g / KWh. The automotive industry can dream of this, even if the catalog consumption wants us to believe otherwise.

    So respect for Koenigsegg, who got it in such a small Motörchen. However, it is just as little an invention as the turbine generators, which are normal equipment in aviation, as mentioned in the article.
    Whether it makes sense to the layman (motorists) to put such technology on the wheels and whether it is suitable for everyday use in the use of little technology-related contemporaries, they are left undecided.

  • Good day together
    My knowledge has been around 1994 experiments with turbine generators in Sweden but leather not at SAAB but at Volvo.
    I found that at the time a very interesting topic.
    I think also with today's technology this could make sense.

  • You're right, it'll be a dream. But now and then you have to treat yourself a little reverie. Even if that dream came true, I'm afraid it would be one size too big for my financial resources.

  • Exciting! Highly interesting, never heard of it before.
    However, there remains a technology with the consumption of petroleum.
    This “problem” has yet to be changed!
    Perhaps as an “interim solution”. Because that the entire automotive world sees its salvation in the EL drive, I do not see that with the finite resources.
    The topic remains exciting!

  • SAAB AB itself has so far not got on well with the auto division - the fiasco then culminated years ago when GM was selected as a buyer in the course of the group's splitting up.

    However, it would make sense if SAAB AB would release the well-known name for future well-made NEVS vehicles - this would make a lot of things easier. Of course, always provided that there are actually SAAB-level cars in the pipeline!

  • The certain turbines are built directly in the neighborhood at GKN. Would be extremely short delivery routes. Enough of dreams

  • Why difficult? Who else, if not an aircraft manufacturer, should know about turbines. So what would be closer?

  • Well let's see what great innovations NEVS will delight us with in the future ...

  • Turbine generator, that's really what that would go with Saab. Then you could really write ”Born from Jet's” on the car. Why isn't Saab (Saab AB) finally building its own cars again? Who needs NEVS?

  • Kerosene and turbine generators in cars are just getting under me for the first time.
    And the electro-hydraulic valve train too. Exciting article.

  • Tragic, the thing with Koenigsegg. If the takeover had worked then, the factory would still be Swedish, it would go for innovative engines and not the fruitless electric car chatter.

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