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DEVEloPMEnT Alternative Drives

The Turbosteamer:
A System Introducing the
Principle of Cogeneration in
Automotive Applications
BMWs turbosteamer is the first system to use the potential of waste heat in order to enhance the efficiency of the
combustion process in the automobile. Applying the principle of cogeneration, fuel consumption can be reduced
in a four-cylinder spark ignition engine by more than 10 per cent or, conversely, power and performance may be
increased accordingly under relevant stationary operating conditions.

20 MTZ 05I2008 Volume 69

1 Introduction optimise the process of fuel/air mixture The Authors
preparation and the combustion process.
The progress achieved in the develop- A relatively new perspective, by compari-
ment of the combustion engine in the son, is to take a closer look at the pe- Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil.
last 120 years is truly gigantic. While the riphery around the engine with all its Raymond Freymann
Benz Motor Carriage in 1886 developed units for converting energy, seeking in is the Managing Direc-
maximum output of 0.55kW at 400rpm, this way to reduce fuel consumption tor of BMW Forschung
engine output of 350kW at 8,000rpm is through the general improvement of en- und Technik GmbH in
nothing special today in a modern sports ergy management. Munich (Germany).
car. But whenever the driver wishes to This paper presents a system serving to
use this 350kW by pressing down the ac- recuperate heat losses and convert such
celerator pedal, the combustion engine heat into mechanical energy. It is shown Dipl.-Ing.
requires a supply of fuel three times as that this technology is able on a four-cyl- Wolfgang Strobl
great as the power actually generated inder spark ignition engine to reduce fuel is the Department Ma-
(that is more than 1,000kW!). This is be- consumption in the range of 10-15 per nager for CleanEnergy
cause the combustion engine, with its cent or, corresponding, to increase power and EfficientDynamics
maximum efficiency of approximately output at relevant, stationary operating at BMW Forschung
40 per cent, converts only about one- points. Cogeneration therefore offers a und Technik GmbH in
third of the energy it receives by way of significant potential in solving the con- Munich (Germany).
fuel into mechanical energy, even under flict of interests between fuel economy,
favourable operating conditions. Two- on the one hand, and the performance of
thirds of the energy in the fuel, in turn, a vehicle, on the other. It is therefore an Dr. Sc. techn.
is converted into heat within the com- important element and, indeed, the next Andreas Obieglo
bustion engine. This energy referred to logical step in the EfficientDynamics is the Turbosteamer
as heat loss is discharged into the en- approach taken by BMW [1]. Project Manager at
vironment, as it were, via the engines BMW Forschung und
cooling system and the cars exhaust, Technik GmbH in
without being used in the slightest for 2 Efficiency of the Combustion Engine Munich (Germany).
any practical purpose.
Considering the limited supply of fos- The constant-volume cycle is the ideal ap-
sil energy reserves, it is essential in our proach in describing the thermodynam-
modern day and age to capitalise on the ic processes to be observed in all piston
fuel energy used for powering the auto- engines with periodical combustion and
mobile. Taking the conventional ap- generation of mechanical energy. As
proach, the focus of research and devel- shown by Figure 1 in the T,s diagram, the
opment activities in enhancing the effi- constant-volume cycle is based on a cycle
ciency of the combustion engine is to process made up of reversible adiabatic

Figure 1: Constant-volume process in T,s diagram

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D evel opme n t Alternative Drives

fuel is actually converted into mechani-

cal energy under realistic operating con-
ditions, with one-third being discharged
into the coolant and one-third leaving
the vehicle through the exhaust system.
If it were possible to recuperate this
lost thermal energy at least in part, con-
verting it into mechanical energy, the
overall degree of system efficiency could
be increased accordingly. Assuming the
efficiency coolant for the conversion of
coolant heat Qcoolant into mechanical ener-
gy Wcoolant and the efficiency exhaust gas for
the conversion of thermal exhaust ener-
gy Qexhaust gas into mechanical energy
Wexhaust gas, we obtain the following equa-

Wcoolant = coolant Q coolant Eq. (4)

Figure 2: Energy conversion in a vehicle Wexhaust gas = exhaust gas Q exhaust gas Eq. (5)

This leads to the following equation de-

scribing the effective degree of efficiency
(isentropic) compression (12), the iso- piston) combustion engine the heat loss effective of a power unit with a cogenera-
choric supply of heat (23), isentropic is far greater and the efficiency far low- tion system operating downstream:
expansion (34), and the isochoric trans- er than in the ideal constant-volume
fer of heat (41). process. Again following [2], therefore, effective = ___
E = effective
According to [2], this cycle process the effective efficiency of a combustion (coolant Q coolant + exhaust gas Q exhaust gas) Eq. (6)
shows an efficiency of engine may quite generally be defined + ________________________

as follows:
W (Qin Qout )
Q = ________
ideal = ___
Q = Applying
effective = ___
in in
Eq. (1) E = ideal rcharge icomb
Qout Tl Qcoolant
1 ___
Q = 1 __ coolant = coolant _____

T = 1
(1 K)
Eq. (3) E
Eq. (7)
in u fuel
rcomb lwall leakage lcharge Qexhaust gas
In this context Q in defines the heat fed exhaust gas = exhaust gas ______
Eq. (8)
into the process (23), Q out the heat In this context, W defines the mechani-
transfer (41), W the work performed by cal energy delivered by the power unit the following results from Eq. (6):
the system (34), Tl, Tu the lower and, re- within a specific period and Efuel the fuel
spectively, upper temperature level of energy used for this purpose. The indi- effective = ___
E = effective
the cycle process, the isentropic expo- vidual efficiency terms in the actual, Eq. (9)
nent of the ideal gas. , finally, stands for real-life process describe the influence of + coolant + exhaust gas
the compression ratio resulting as fol- the current state of charge, the conver-
lows from compression volume VC and sion losses resulting from incomplete The following chapter examines the
stroke volume VS: combustion, combustion losses as a re- magnitude of coolant and exhaust gas.
sult of the real combustion process, ther-
(VC + VS)
= ______
Eq. (2) mal losses due to heat transfer on the
walls of the combustion chamber, leak- 3 Cogeneration
In its (maximum) value, the efficiency age losses resulting from blow-by effects,
of the constant-volume cycle thus de- and charge cycle losses. The system of cogeneration examined
pends exclusively on the compression As shown by Figure 2, only a fraction of here is based on the Clausius-Rankine
ratio and the isentropic exponent . the chemical energy contained in the steam process [3] presented in the T,s dia-
Eq. (1) shows that due to Q out > 0, the fuel is actually converted into mechani- gram of Figure 3. The underlying ideal
power unit can never reach a level of ef- cal energy in a motor vehicle. Making a process involves the isentropic compres-
ficiency of 100 per cent, not even under very optimistic assumption, one may sion of a liquid medium (12), isobaric
ideal conditions. state that in the real operation of a mo- heating, evaporation and superheating
It goes without saying that in the re- tor vehicle not more than one-third of of the medium (23) by supplying the
al process of operating a (reciprocating- the energy content in a given amount of thermal loss energy Q in of the power

22 MTZ 05I2008 Volume 69

unit, the isentropic expansion of the va-
porous medium (34) in an expansion
machine with a supply of mechanical en-
ergy, and isobaric condensation of the
medium back into the liquid phase (4
1), together with the dissipation of heat
Q out into the environment.
Assuming an ideal process, the effi-
ciency of the Clausius-Rankine process is
as follows:
(Wexpansion Wpump)
CR,ideal = ____________

Q Eq. (10)

whereby Wexpansion is the mechanical ex-

pansion work of a machine operating
free of losses generated within a specific
period (34), Wpump is the work used as
applied by a pump operating free of
losses (12), Q in is the heat transferred
completely to the process (23), as recu-
perated from the loss energy of the en- Figure 3: Clausius-Rankine steam process in T,s diagram
gine unit.
The values for the expansion and
pumping work shown in Eq. (10) can be
calculated from the differences in the en- the wet steam phase) heat input is kept to known from steam vapour tables [4], ob-
thalpic values entered in Figure 3. Apply- the highest possible and heat output to tain the following degree of efficiency in
ing Eq. (10), this results in the following the lowest possible temperature level. accordance with Eq. (11):
equation: This point is significant since, when
applying the cogeneration principle in a kJ
((h3 h4) (h2 h1)) (2363 417) __
CR,ideal = ______________
(h h )
combustion engine, we have to consider CR,ideal = 1 ____________

kJ = 0,22 Eq. (13)
3 2
that the coolant and the exhaust gases, (3255 419) __
(h4 h1) Q Eq. (11)
1 ______ ___out
(h h )
= 1 Q that is the two media removing heat
3 2 in
from the system, show a very different We may also proceed from the following
Under real process conditions, it is impor- temperature level: While coolant tem- realistic figures for losses in an actual
tant to consider that the existing heat perature is generally between 100 and system under real-life conditions:
losses cannot be recuperated in full 115C, the temperature of the exhaust heat transfer = 0.8, flow,friction = 0.9 and expansion =
some will be lost, for example, in the heat gases may well be up to 900C. Given 0.7. Applying Eq. (12), this shows the fol-
transfer process on account of radiation these significant differences in tempera- lowing effective degree of efficiency in
or convection. There will also be losses in ture, it is appropriate, taking a maxi- the high-temperature cycle:
the system due to throttle effects, flow mum approach in the recuperation of
and mechanical friction between the heat loss to consider a dual-circuit sys- CR,effective = 0,22 0,8 0,9 0,7 = 0,11 Eq. (14)
various components. And ultimately ex- tem a low-temperature cycle for recu-
pansion of the medium in its steam perating heat from the coolant and a By definition, this factor is identical to
phase inevitably also involves losses. high-temperature cycle for recuperating the efficiency exhaust gas shown in Eq. (5).
Taking all these losses into account, we thermal exhaust energy. Assuming a ratio of 1/3 between Q exhaust gas
obtain the effective degree of efficiency in To assess the potentials available with /Efuel, the increase of efficiency in the
a real-life Clausius-Rankine process: such a concept, we will focus, by way of combustion engine on account of the re-
example, on the high-temperature cycle cuperation of thermal exhaust energy is
CR,effective = CR,ideal heat transfer in the following. Since in this case the as follows, in accordance with Eq. (8):
Eq. (12) input of heat comes from hot exhaust
flow,friction expansion gases, we may proceed from the follow- exhaust gas = 0,11 __
3= 0,037 Eq. (15)
ing realistic temperature levels in proc-
The similarity of Eq. (11) and Eq. (1) in the ess management: evaporation tempera- That is 3.7 per cent.
ideal process in terms of the ratio be- ture = 200C, superheating temperature Without going into further detail, it
tween heat input and heat output is quite = 400C, condensation temperature = is important to note in this context that,
amazing. Accordingly, we see also in the 100C. Under the assumption that the based on similar considerations, the ef-
Clausius-Rankine process that the best ef- medium used in the cycle process is wa- fective degree of efficiency in a low-tem-
ficiency is achieved when (particularly in ter, we then, applying the data well- perature cycle serving to recuperate cool-

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D evel opme n t Alternative Drives

ant heat, using ethanol as the medium, 4 The Turbosteamer even a 12-cylinder power unit, this
is CR,effective = coolant = 0.06. was seen as the worst case for a heat
Again assuming a ratio of 1/3 for Qcoolant 4.1 Development of the System recuperation system.
/Efuel, Eq. (7) shows the following increase A large number of fundamental ques- 4. Use of vane-cell expansion machines
in the degree of efficiency in the com- tions has to be addressed in determining in both the high-temperature and
bustion engine on account of the recu- the experimental set-up used to verify low-temperature loop. The main rea-
peration of coolant heat: the cogeneration concept. Without go- son for this choice was the very sim-
ing into the details of the many consid- ple configuration and construction of
coolant = 0,06 __
3= 0,020 Eq. (16) erations involved, where the focus was an expander system of this type.
not only on technical features, but also 5. Application of expander performance
That is 2.0 per cent. on the effort involved and deadlines, on- with the focus on the optimum effi-
Proceeding from these considerations ly the most important decisions are pre- ciency of the combustion engine and
and in accordance with Eq. (9), one may sented in the following: not on its maximum power.
therefore assume that the degree of effi- 1. Realisation of a dual-circuit system 6. Use of various types of heat exchang-
ciency of a combustion engine will in- serving to use the full potential of ers in accordance with the operating
crease in absolute terms by 5-6 per cent thermal recuperation (maximum ap- conditions in each case in terms of
when recuperating thermal energy in proach). heat exchanger performance, temper-
both the coolant and the exhaust gas, 2. Use of water as the medium in the ature and pressure levels, as well as
that is using both sources together. Apply- high-temperature and ethanol as the volume (overall package).
ing a result of only 5 per cent, this means medium in the low-temperature Proceeding from these initial, basic de-
given a maximum efficiency in the com- loop. cisions, the next step was to develop the
bustion engine at its best operating point 3. Choice of a four-cylinder spark-igni- process diagram of a possible cogenera-
of approximately 40 per cent a relative tion engine for the fundamental ex- tion system presented in Figure 4 [5].
improvement of the degree of efficiency aminations conducted. Considering This diagram shows the vane-cell ex-
of at least 12 per cent within the operat- the smaller absolute heat loss of a panders with a certain similarity at
ing range of the combustion engine. four-cylinder versus a six-/eight- or least in graphic terms with a turbo-

Figure 4: Process diagram of the Turbosteamer

24 MTZ 05I2008 Volume 69

Rankine process the pump, evapora-
tor, superheater, expander, and con-
denser. Apart from condensation heat
from the HT loop, the coolant heat from
the engine is also fed into the medium
in the LT evaporator. The medium is su-
perheated in the exhaust gas heat ex-
changer downstream from the evapora-
tor of the HT loop.
The expander machines of both cycles
feed their power into the system with
an appropriate transmission ratio me-
chanically on the crankshaft of the com-
bustion engine.

4.2 Experimental Examinations

The objective of these first experimental
examinations was to confirm the theo-
retical context presented in Chapter 3
Figure 5: Turbosteamer in a BMW 3 Series and, in particular, to confirm the fuel sav-
ings predicted. Hence, the test bench con-
figuration of the Turbosteamer, Figure 6, is
laid out specifically to provide such con-
charger, which therefore led to the sure were also taken into account in the firmation and verify the theoretical as-
name Turbosteamer given to the recu- design, configuration and integration of sumptions made. The configuration thus
peration system. this component. To avoid disadvantages provides precise information on the op-
After development of the appropriate in cold start emission behaviour, the su- eration of the overall system consisting of
hardware, all components were tested perheater is positioned behind the pre- the combustion engine with or without
individually for their qualities. The re- catalyst, its steam pipes forming part of the Turbosteamer connected to the crank-
sults achieved in this process fulfilled the overall exhaust system. The condens- shaft, running at stationary operating
and with one exception even outper- er in the HT loop, on the other hand, ful- points. In addition, this test array allows
formed the specifications established in fils a dual function, acting at the same the development of initial strategies for
advance. Only the tests on the vane-cell time as the evaporator for the low-tem- controlling the dynamic behaviour of the
expanders were disappointing. With the perature (LT) loop. system.
objective being to develop a fully func- In analogy to the HT loop, the LT loop The very first practical examinations
tioning overall system at an early point likewise features the system compo- confirmed that the amount of heat loss
in time, the decision was taken not to nents typically used in the Clausius- is by all means significant, as is to be
seek further optimisation for the time
being, but rather to replace the vane-cell
expanders by axial piston machines.
Applying an appropriate CAx process,
we were able to develop a technically so-
phisticated recuperation system featur-
ing the right kind of package within a
relatively short period. As is to be seen in
Figure 5, the system largely fulfills the re-
quirements for full integration in a BMW
3 Series. The structure, layout and con-
figuration of the dual-circuit system de-
veloped on the basis of Figure 5 is de-
scribed in the following:
The high-temperature loop (HT loop)
consists of the pump, steam generator,
superheater, expander, and condenser.
Apart from its function as a heat ex-
changer, the steam generator also serves
as a silencer in the exhaust system. Fur-
ther issues such as exhaust gas back-pres- Figure 6: Test bench configuration of the Turbosteamer

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D evel opme n t Alternative Drives

seen in Figure 7 and Figure 8. Given the

similar magnitude of coolant and ex-
haust heat losses, it is advisable to take
both heat flows into account in develop-
ing a Turbosteamer.
By and large, the potential of a Tur-
bosteamer system in converting ther-
mal energy loss into mechanical energy
relates directly to the following two
1. How good is the transfer of heat loss
from the combustion engine into the
steam cycles on the Turbosteamer?
2. To what extent can the heat within
the loops be converted into mechani-
cal energy?
To answer the first question, Figure 9, by
Figure 7: Heat power in coolant way of example, presents the heat trans-
fer into the LT and HT loops determined
by way of experiment at various operat-
ing points in the engine. The result ob-
tained is positive, since the coolant and
exhaust gas heat available allows the
generation of high-grade steam. The ex-
aminations have shown quite generally
that the transfer of heat into the steam
cycles does not present a problem. In-
deed, it is fair to assume that approxi-
mately 80 per cent of the heat loss may
be recuperated thermally. An impressive
result in this context is also the reduc-
tion of the exhaust gas temperature
within the system, Figure 10.
The second question does not allow
such a direct, straightforward answer.
The factors to be considered in this case
are, first, the general management of the
Figure 8: Heat power in exhaust gas Clausius-Rankine process and, second,
the efficiency of the expansion machine.
Reference is deliberately not made here
to the many options for the process
management. On the other hand the
tests conducted were able to provide a
very clear picture of the behaviour of the
axial piston machines used in terms of
their efficiency: Throughout a broad
range on the control map, the degree of
efficiency established was 55 per cent.
Taking the specific design and construc-
tion of the prototype into account, it is
furthermore fair to assume that the po-
tential of this component was not yet ex-
hausted in full and that further optimi-
sation should allow a degree of efficiency
of expansion of up to 70 per cent (in accord-
ance with Eq. (12)).
While there is still significant poten-
Figure 9: Heat transfer to the loops tial for improvement within the test con-

26 MTZ 05I2008 Volume 69

[1] Liebl, J.: Der BMW Weg zur CO2-Reduzierung.
13th International Congress on Electronics in the
Automobile, Baden-Baden, 2007
[2] Pischinger, R.; Klell, M.; Sams, T.: Thermodynamik
der Verbrennungskraftmaschine 2nd Edition. Wien
New York: Springer, 2002
[3] Stephan, K.; Mayinger, F.: Thermodynamik Bd. 1
Einstoffsysteme 14th Edition. Berlin/Heidelberg:
Springer, 1992
[4] Schmidt, E.; Hrsg. Verein Deutscher Ingenieure:
VDI-Wasserdampftafeln 6th Edition, Berlin/Gttin-
gen/Heidelberg: Springer & Munich: Oldenbourg,
[5] Wrmekraftmaschine, Disclosure Document DE
102 59 488 A1, German Patent and Trademark Of-
fice of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Figure 10: Reduction of the exhaust gas temperature in the exhaust system

Figure 11: Relative additional power output of the Turbosteamer in the engine map

figuration used, the prototype tested al- fuel economy of a motor vehicle. The
ready revealed the potential of a cogen- thermodynamic estimates and calcula-
eration system comparable in its magni- tions for configuring a Turbosteamer sys-
tude to the theoretical forecast. As is to tem based on theoretical parameters
be seen in Figure 11, therefore, the Turbo- were confirmed for the first time in the
steamer provides significant mechanical tests conducted, which also showed that
recuperation performance throughout such a system can be appropriately ac-
an essential scope of the engine operat- commodated in a motor vehicle in the
ing range. right package.
The investigations currently being
conducted focus on the reduction of the
5 Summary and Outlook Turbosteamers complexity, the reduc-
tion of its size, weight and cost, and the
By way of experiment, the Turbosteamer implementation of transient and highly
for the first time proves the potential of dynamic driving cycles on the test
a cogeneration system in enhancing the bench.

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