BMW Turbosteamer

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Press kit and analysis about the BMW Turbosteamer.

Our analyzes at the end of page. Click images to enlarge.


increased efficiency, more power, reduced consumption: for the first time, the BMW Group Research & Engineering recovers heat from the engine to create power.
15% efficiency in addition, a half liters less consumption for an average car through the principle of the steam car!

The principle of Turbosteamer

Thanks to a new concept, BMW Group researchers have successfully tamed the largest - and never exploited - this energy source in a car: heat. By combining a steering group attended a BMW four-cylinder engine of the 1.8 on a test rig, engineers were able to reduce the consumption of this mechanical 15% while generating power kW 10 and 20 Nm of torque additional. Power and efficiency come from nowhere! And that do not cost a drop of fuel! Indeed, this energy comes exclusively from the "calories" that normally get lost in the exhaust gas and the coolant. Such research project thus meets all the criteria dear to the philosophy BMW EfficientDynamics: reduced consumption and emissions along with increased dynamism and performance.

Until 15% efficiency in addition to the gasoline engine

The Turbosteamer - that's the name of the project - is based on the principle of the steam engine: a fluid is heated to form steam in two circuits and this steam is used to drive the motor. The first energy provider is a high-temperature circuit using the very hot exhaust gases of the internal combustion engine via the heat exchangers. More 80% of the energy "heat" contained in the exhaust gases are recovered by this technique. Steam is then directly conducted to an expansion unit connected to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Most of the residual heat is absorbed by the cooling circuit which is none other than the second energy supplier Turbosteamer. This new engine control system actually increases the efficiency of all the mechanical 15% overall. "The Turbosteamer still persuades us a little more than the internal combustion engine is undoubtedly a future solution," says Professor Burkhard Göschel, Board member responsible for development and purchasing at BMW AG.

A system for cars today

This engine control system is in its phase of extensive testing on testbed. All its components were designed to be installed in the current models of the brand. Thus, tests were carried out with different packages to ensure that BMW 3, for example, will welcome without major modifications. Mission accomplished: the engine compartment of a four-cylinder model offers enough space to include all modules of Turbosteamer.

Mass production within ten years

The challenge now is to simplify and reduce the size of the system as a whole. The issue is important because it is mass industrialize this innovative system within ten years.

BMW Efficient Dynamics philosophy

The BMW Group Research & Engineering illustrate just beautiful way the medium-term prospects offered by BMW EfficientDynamics philosophy. "This project aims to address the apparent contradiction between reducing emissions and consumption on the one hand and the pair performance and agility on the other," summarizes Professor Burkhard Göschel. For the BMW Group, is a fundamental principle that a reduction in consumption - even measured - affecting the entire range produced more effects a reduction greater on a niche model. This is why BMW intends to focus on a specific task: to make accessible to the greatest number of the most modern technologies to reduce auto use.

our analyzes

About the concept

When you know that more than 40% of the thermal energy consumed in an engine is lost in the exhaust, we welcome this technology initiative that, if developed and disseminated at affordable cost, could contribute significantly to the economy of oil resources.

However, contrary to what is stated by BMW, the idea is not new since The concept was developed by the Kitson Still, Diesel Steam locomotive in 1920 years. Click here for more details

About technology: "econological" aspects

We are seeing some limitations to this system:

  • First of all the the extra cost
  • When we know that the price of domestic steam microturbines is of the order of € 20 000 10 to kW. It is feared that this be difficult solvable especially when managers speak to equip the entire range (an additional cost of the car than 20% is not commercially feasible)

  • The system appears to be limited to gasoline engines
  • Indeed; turbos high pressure diesel injection pump already enormous energy and temperature of their exhaust is probably too small to be usable via this method. This is unfortunate given that it is the direct injection diesel that currently offer the best engine performance.

  • We believe the most Turbo Compound (Turbo Machinery)
  • Indeed; some already mounted on trucks or industrial motor, it is much easier to implement and provides a reduction in 5 10%% but knows the same limits: high exhaust temperature thus limited effectiveness in the upper range powers and accelerations. (See following note)

  • The system is most effective when the temperature of the exhaust gases will be more elevated ...
  • ... Ie high engine power (vehicle speed) or high torque demand (hard acceleration). Accordingly, we may doubt the effectiveness of the system in urban journeys (2 / 3 km of made during the lifetime of a car) and therefore that the city system makes a significant difference. On the contrary its overweight may increase the consumption ...

    So what interest 15% gain in consumption if the gain is only possible beyond a certain power (high without doubt, from 50% of the maximum power of the vehicle) especially knowing the power ranges (large) BMW vehicles?

    Unless recess that BMW engineers have thought of temporarily storing steam (in a buffer tank under high pressure and temperature) for use at higher torque applications. In this case this last remark is false ...

  • Finally, the time to market announced 10 years
  • At present when the advance engine technology, all the same, fast enough, 10 years is a fairly long term. To date, 2015-16, so that he will be the very promising technology for Diesel Hybrid? There likely qu'econologiquement the latter technology is more efficient although the recess Turbosteamer could fit on Hybdrides ... essences.

    our conclusion

    If the principle is not so innovative that BMW would have us believe, its distribution would be a leap forward on performance, yet low current gasoline engines ... but at what cost: as much technology (management complexity and increased vehicle mass ...) and financial (repercussion on the final price of the vehicle ...)? The commercial failure of Kitson Still was, at least in part, to the complexity ... The current price and 10 years of energy-efficient he will make such technology for individuals? The future will tell…

    Finally, we believe, may be wrongly, that the system could meet a bright future for industrial engines. Indeed, these engines are more frequently and for long periods highly charged, usage limits and costs cited above would have no reason to be.


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