The dramatic increase in the number of hybrid and all-electric vehicles under development has led to the search for the ideal range extender, a power unit which can charge the vehicle’s batteries on the move and overcome ‘range anxiety’.

The compact size and ultra-light weight of the Bladon Jets micro gas turbine make it the perfect on-board power source for the next-generation of high-efficiency hybrids.

Installed in a serial hybrid design which uses electric motors to power the vehicle, the micro gas turbine would be used to drive a high speed generator, creating electricity when the vehicle’s batteries are running low. The gas turbines are only activated when required, running continuously at their most efficient operating speed.

Compared to the petrol or diesel reciprocating engines which are used in current hybrid vehicles, the Bladon Jets micro gas turbine offers multiple advantages.

The micro gas turbine is dramatically lighter – installing this power unit in place of a conventional piston engine can lead to overall vehicle weight savings of up to 15 percent, resulting in enhanced performance and range, and further reductions in fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

From a design point of view, the significantly smaller size of the micro gas turbine – equivalent to the size of a biscuit tin – would provide substantial benefits in optimising the vehicle package. The absence of water-cooling, lubrication or catalytic converter systems also simplifies the package requirements, as well as contributing to weight and complexity reductions.

In addition to the highly-efficient, clean-burning nature of the micro gas turbine, further environmental benefits will be gained from its fast warm up (a few seconds, as opposed to several minutes for a conventional engine) and lower manufacturing energy requirements.

Once in high-volume production, it is also anticipated that the micro gas turbine will also offer a unit cost advantage over the larger and more complex reciprocating engines, particularly diesel engines that have been engineered to satisfy the highly stringent upcoming emissions legislation.

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