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Safran, Pankl develop high-performance turbocharger
Clean Sky 2. © Clean Sky JU

Safran, Pankl develop high-performance turbocharger

Safran SMA and Pankl Turbosystems GmbH have developed a new, high-performance turbocharger for aeronautical applications.

Safran SMA and Pankl Turbosystems GmbH have developed a new, high-performance turbocharger for aeronautical applications. The development was performed in support of the “Lightweight and efficient Jet-fuel piston engine” project, part of Clean Sky 2’s Engines Integrated Technology Demonstrator (ITD) work package.

Safran SMA specialises in piston engines for light aviation, while Pankl Turbosystems GmbH focuses on turbosystems for high-performance road vehicles.

The objective of the turbocharger project — which included manufacture, testing and analysis of a turbocharger prototype — was to create a new benchmark for aeronautical boosting systems, filling a gap in the general aviation market. The project seeks to address the fact that previous developments have tended to focus on adopting automotive turbochargers, with modifications primarily limited to those necessary to install the system in the airplane.

According to the project's promoters, compression-ignition engines burning aeronautical kerosene/jet fuels can reduce fuel burn by 50% to 65% compared to a small turbine engine, and by 30% to 50% compared with an avgas engine.

As well as demonstrating high-performance, highly efficient and affordable technology, the project included preliminary design of a bearing system that can operate with almost no lubrication – thought to be the first such design for a turbocharger.

Another important achievement was the introduction of new compressor wheel material: the high-strength aluminum alloy AL-MS-95, selected as a prime option for future development.

Safran SMA is reported to have started discussions on further development of the turbocharger prototype, with the goal of taking it into production.

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