In case of stationary power production, the matching between the turbocharger and the engine can be optimized around a specific operating point, rather than throughout a wide range like in automotive applications. This, in turn, may enable a finer optimization of the aerodynamic efficiency in comparison to existing industrial standards.
The present study then reports a joint research activity aimed at defining an integrated approach to optimize the overall performance of an engine for stationary power production via a dedicated optimization of the turbocharger unit. In further detail, the aerodynamic optimization of the compressor, the turbine and the static parts is carried out by means of high-fidelity CFD simulations, while a 1D model of the powertrain is realized by means of the GT-Power software. An iterative procedure between the two simulation frameworks is established to account for the fluid dynamic connection between the engine and the turbocharger. Even though the selected case study was a “high quality” commercial product, the study shows how notable aerodynamic improvements can be achieved on turbocharger aerodynamics, thanks to the fact that the rangeability can be narrowed. Efficiency increases of 2.4% and of 3.4% have been reached for the compressor and the turbine, respectively. In the selected case study, this reflected into a moderate overall engine improvement (+0.5%), which however is not negligible in case of engine for stationary power production. Anyhow, the results suggest more promising prospects in case the methodology is applied since the early design of the engine.