Honeywell Sees Electrification in Future of Turbo Technology
FRANKFURT – Sept. 15, 2015 – Honeywell (NYSE:HON), the leading global developer of automotive turbochargers, will be presenting auto makers at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) its latest turbocharger developments involving electric boosting. These new technologies are applicable to vehicles with internal combustion engines as well as advanced powertrains like hybrids and full electrics using fuel cell technology.
For more than 60 years, Honeywell has been an industry leader developing turbochargers which take advantage of exhaust gases otherwise wasted out the tailpipe as an energy source to drive more clean air into smaller engines helping improve a vehicle’s fuel economy without sacrificing performance.
Honeywell believes the extensive resources of its aerospace business group as well as its already considerable experience with electric boosting solutions — which currently includes active motorsport programs in Formula One and other global race series — will make it a leading contributor to future powertrain strategies requiring the integration of electric and conventional turbo machinery into air-management systems.
“Honeywell has spent the last 10 years working with auto makers to develop opportunities for electric turbos in the marketplace,” said Craig Balis, chief technology officer for Honeywell Transportation Systems. “We see electric boosting and fuel cell technology as an extension of our ability to boost engine performance and push the performance envelope of powertrain technology forward. Unlike most other suppliers, Honeywell Aerospace and Transportation Systems have the experience of both developing electric turbo machinery and also implementing it at a systems level.”
The key for supporting electric turbos is an industry change to upgrade traditional electrical system architecture to support the higher power needs of these devices, like moving from 12v to 48v systems. While this is likely a few years away, more stringent fuel economy regulations are requiring auto makers to revisit technology roadmaps to optimize overall vehicle performance.
“We can see a glimpse of the future for electric products in our advanced motorsport programs where we work with Scuderia Ferrari on a version of an e-turbo integrated with a hybrid system to improve their Formula 1 car’s performance,” said Balis. “Similarly, we are partnering with a global manufacturer to provide an advanced air compressor, a key enabler to fuel cell technology, which we expect to see in the market in the very near future. At Honeywell, we see these advanced powertrains as complementary to our business, not as competitive threats.”
Honeywell is beginning to see turbochargers play a more immediate role in electrification as automakers move to pair traditional turbocharged internal combustion engines with hybrid powertrains. Electric turbos can help improve performance and vehicle efficiency through both aspects of a hybrid powertrain.
Honeywell is deploying electrification through a number of applications, in particular:
- E-Charger: Complements the traditional turbo architecture by updating the turbine side of the turbo with an electric motor to drive the compressor wheel to feed air to the engine quickly, improving transient performance.
- E-Turbo Compounding: This similarly complimentary configuration is the reverse of an E-Charger, connecting a turbine wheel fed by exhaust energy to an electric generator to create electricity for some other purpose in the vehicle.
- Full Electric Turbo: One integrated unit which both uses and makes electrical energy to drive itself or other vehicle accessories. On a hybrid application, it can put energy back into the crankshaft to make the system more efficient.
- Electric Air Compressor for Fuel Cells: An electric pump which pushes air through a Hydrogen fuel cell.
“Electrification of turbochargers is a key technology that we anticipate shaping the automotive industry in the upcoming decades. Electric air compressors for fuel cells, for example, essentially enable electric cars that will power themselves through a sort of internal hydrogen energy station in the vehicle itself,” said Balis. “While this may seem like futuristic space-age technology, these applications are already becoming a reality.”
From electrification of the Aircraft to Automotive
For more than two decades, Honeywell has been active in research and development of high speed electric aerodynamic technology. Recently, Honeywell Aerospace, in partnership with Safran, developed the EGTS electric taxiing system that can improve an airline’s operational efficiency by reducing fuel and other taxi-related costs. In addition, many technologies from aerospace are being applied to automotive electrification like high-speed air-bearing systems used in the electric air compressor for fuel cells.
From aerospace to automotive turbochargers, Honeywell continues to develop electrification technologies that shape the future of transportation.