Cummins hints at next generation fuel efficiency savings 26 July 2012

Technical innovations in the transport industry will in future be driven by a desire for better fuel efficiency, rather than lower emissions.

That's the view of turbocharger technology giant Cummins Turbo Technologies, which says that it already has a set of "near-market and future solutions", capable of making significant inroads into improving truck fuel efficiency.

"Whilst our latest Euro 6-, Tier 4 Final- and US13/14-compliant products were developed to help meet forthcoming emissions legislation, without compromising engine power, all indications are that our customers will become increasingly focused on fuel savings," confirms Cummins executive director for product line management and marketing Mark Firth.

"In addition, engine and vehicle manufacturers will wish to maintain or even increase the power outputs from engines – which, in turn, are becoming smaller and lighter -- presenting a significant engineering challenge," he adds.

Against this backdrop, Firth says Cummins Turbo Technologies will be revealing next-generation technologies – some capable of improving fuel efficiency by "at least 6%" on "any modern diesel engine", dependent on application, duty cycle and engine power requirements – at the IAA Hannover show in September.

Chief among these, he says, are: a waste heat turbine expander prototype; next generation variable geometry turbocharger; an inverse impeller design; and a super map width enhancement collar.

The waste heat turbine expander essentially captures what would otherwise be lost energy, in the form of heat, from several sources on board the vehicle and turns it into mechanical (25kW) or electrical (5kWe), capable of reducing vehicle fuel consumption by 5% and delivering estimated fuel savings of £3,250 per annum.

As for Cummins latest variable geometry turbocharger, this is 2kg lighter and costed at substantially less than the model it replaces, while featuring a high efficiency compressor stage – again delivering improved fuel economy.

And it's a similar story with the inverse impeller design, which, according to Firth, replaces the conventional alternative and improves compressor stage efficiency by 1% through flow optimisation software.

He also explains that the super map width collar generates a 15% improvement and facilitates engine downsizing, while also improving driveability, widening operating range, helping with efficiency mapping and delivering fuel savings.

Incidentally, Cummins has also developed its own rolling element bearings, which Firth claims offer high durability and low friction. These, he says, improve both transient response and fuel consumption – delivering a 1% improvement in overall turbocharger efficiency.

Brian Tinham

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