Investigation of the potential of gas turbines for vehicular applications
Paper i proceeding, 2012
Nowadays, the reduction of fuel consumption and pollutant emissions has become a top priority for society and economy. In the past decades, some of the environmental advantages of the gas turbine (such as inherently low CO and unburned HC) have led some car manufacturers to evaluate the potential of this type of engine as prime mover. This paper suggests a strategy to assess the fuel consumption of gas turbines applied in road vehicles. Based on a quasistatic approach, a model was created that can simulate road vehicles powered by gas turbines, and thereafter a comparison was established with reciprocating engines. Within this study, material and turbomachinery technology developments that have taken place in micro gas turbines since the 1960's have been considered. A 30% efficiency improvement target has been identified with respect to making the gas turbine fuel competitive to a diesel engine powering an SUV. It is the authors' view that several technologies that could mature sufficiently within the next 10-15 years exist, such as uncooled ceramic turbines. Such technologies could help bridge the fuel efficiency gap in micro gas turbines and make them commercially competitive in the future for low-emissions vehicular applications. Furthermore, the system developed also allows the simulation of hybrid configurations using gas turbines as range extenders, a solution that some car manufacturers consider to be the most promising in the coming years.