Ultra Lightweight Range Extender to be used in hybrid and electric cars
1 March 2010

Jaguar Land Rover is co-developing a micro gas turbine to charge batteries in hybrid cars on the move.

The system is called the Ultra Lightweight Range Extender (ULRE), and is being worked on by a consortium of companies with government backing.

See the pencil-sized micro gas turbine engine

The axial-flow gas turbine engine has been developed by Isle of Man-based company Bladon Jets, and is coupled to a high-speed generator using technology developed by UK firm SR Drives.

Jaguar Land Rover is overseeing the coupling of this application of the system to road car technology.

Axail-flow technology enables the production of highly efficient, small gas turbine engines that are ideally suited for use in hybrid electric vehicles.

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Comments
17

1 March 2010

Describing it as pencil sized is misleading. I imagined something much, much smaller. Is the Jag V8 now telegraph pole sized?

1 March 2010

Cant understand why no other manufacturer is looking at this technology as gas turbines can run on diesel and are very small and light for their relative power output.

Ok so the exhaust gasses can be very hot and noise may be a problem but good to see no alternative power source is being ruled out for the future .

1 March 2010

The real question that needs to be asked is - would such a turbine be significantly more efficient than a conventional petrol engine? If not, what would be the advantage of using it over a conventional small 4 cylinder engine as a range extender in, say, a hybrid car such as the Ampera?

1 March 2010

[quote noluddite]Describing it as pencil sized is misleading. I imagined something much, much smaller. Is the Jag V8 now telegraph pole sized?[/quote]

Depends on the size of your pencil !

1 March 2010

Great idea, and one I have suggested a couple of times myself on these forums, not for any worthy reasons, but because the sound of a turbine spooling up would be so much cooler than a clattery diesel. Use as a range extender is perfect as the constant speed operation this would allow avoids the turbines 2 major flaws, low efficiency at idle speed and throttle lag.

 

1 March 2010

[quote carup008]The real question that needs to be asked is - would such a turbine be significantly more efficient than a conventional petrol engine?[/quote]

I'm no engineer but I believe the answer is yes. Turbines, if allowed to run at constant speed, are very efficient. They can burn a variety of liquid fuels, are extremely compact and have far fewer moving parts. No wonder Rover tried to develop them for automotive use in the '50s, but they got nowhere because they were constrained by having to connect them directly to the wheels by a step down transmission. Using them as a generator in an electric drive system probably means that the automotive turbine's day has at last come.

1 March 2010

To get an idea of the size of the unit have a look on youtube - just put bladon jets into the search engine. I would imagine that the attraction of the unit would be its weight and compact size. Noise and exhaust heat will be interesting.

1 March 2010

[quote SpiritOfSenna]

[quote noluddite]Describing it as pencil sized is misleading. I imagined something much, much smaller. Is the Jag V8 now telegraph pole sized?[/quote]

Depends on the size of your pencil !

[/quote] It's the pencil in the photo...

1 March 2010

[quote athelstan]Noise and exhaust heat will be interesting.[/quote]

Ha, ha yes, I would also like to know the power output, unit mass (inc. any ancillaries) and specific fuel consumption. None of this is on the Bladon Jets website. I think only then will any useful comparisons be possible.

This 'pencil sized' device is also covered in this month's IMechE Professional Engineer magazine. No additional details in there either which is a bit of a shame considering. At the moment, the only information that gives this thing any credibility at all is the link with JLR.

I do hope this is the start of something big for Bladon but at the moment it doesn't look like much more than a very good hobbists creation with a bit of funding.

Good luck to them but can we need more details please!

1 March 2010

I don’t know why they feel the need to reinvent the wheel unless they can make it appreciably better. Capstone already makes micro turbines they could utilize to fast track the program; they are being utilized in the DesignLine Citibus already…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_OlGwTRTwk

The Capstone features…

A Single Moving Part - A single turbine/compressor shaft with integrated generator.

Patented Air Bearings - The single moving part rides on a cushion of air.Consequently, Capstone MicroTurbines never need oil or lubrication maintenance.

Air Cooled - No radiator, water pump, thermostat, hoses, belts or external accessories.

…so to start from scratch seems more like an opportunity to grab some government money; the money could be better spent integrating the existing turbine into the design and optimizing the computer, turbine, battery interface.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

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