Electro-Assist Turbo for Marine Turbocharged Diesel Engines

Turbocharged diesel engines are widely used in the marine industry and have a significant impact on global CO2 and NOx emissions. Turbochargers are an integral component of any diesel engine and they play a critical role in their performance. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Calnetix Technologies have developed a unique technology called the "Electro-Assist Turbo" (EAT). The EAT unit consists of a specially designed high speed permanent magnet motor directly mounted to the turbocharger rotating assembly. The high speed motor applies torque to the turbocharger rotor enabling it maintain or vary rotor speed at low engine exhaust flow rates in order to supply sufficient charge air to maximize engine performance. Turbocharged diesel engines suffer from inherent deficiencies at low engine speeds; there is not enough energy in the exhaust to produce an optimum and readily available level of boost for the engine intake air system at off-design points. This technology proves even more important as the majority of large marine vessels are now operating in a "slow steaming" part throttle mode. To date the majority of marine diesel engines use auxiliary air blowers (AAB) to supply additional air to the engine intake during off design point operation. These AABs are inefficient and not intended nor designed to be used in constant operation. The EAT unit can provide a higher discharge pressure at the same electrical power consumption as an AAB. This more efficient design with higher discharge pressure further improves fuel efficiency and eliminates the need to run an external piece of machinery during operation, thus lowering maintenance costs.

This paper will provide an overview of the design, integration and initial testing of the 100kW Electro-Assist Turbo into a Mitsubishi Exhaust-gas Turbocharger (MET)-83 marine diesel turbocharger. In addition this paper will go over the custom designed aerodynamic motor housing structure that holds the non-rotating components without penalizing performance of the turbocharger, special software developed for the variable frequency drive system that enables the flexible operation of the high speed motor, and features of the high speed permanent magnet motor that allows for operation without any active cooling. Also, this paper will provide and discuss the initial test results of the EAT integrated into the MET-83 turbocharger along with engine testing results provided by MHI. Low cost designs will be discussed that enable turbochargers currently in operation to be retrofitted and the further improvements taking place to commercialize.