TodayApril 17, 2022


BMW Group Research and Engineering

BMW Group Research and Engineering have combined heat and power to improve performance and fuel efficiency in a car for the first time. This combination enhances fuel efficiency by up to 15 percent feasible through the principle of the steam engine.

Munich – Using an innovative concept, BMW Group Research and Engineering have succeeded in harnessing the largest and as yet untapped source of energy in the automobile: Heat. Combining a new creative innovation in a drive assist with a BMW 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine on the test rig reduced consumption by as much as 15 percent and generating almost fourteen more horsepower and up to 15 lb-ft more torque. This increased efficiency and power, free of extra charge. The energy that is derived exclusively from the waste heat present in the exhaust gases and cooling system doesn’t cost you a single drop of fuel. The research project meets all the conditions espoused by the philosophy of BMW Efficient Dynamics “ lower emissions and consumption combined with more dynamic driving and performance.

Up to fifteen percent greater overall efficiency for the gas engine. The Turbosteamer “ as the project is known “ is based on the principle of the steam engine: Fluid is heated to form steam in two circuits, and this is used to power the engine. The primary energy supplier is the high-temperature circuit which uses exhaust heat from the internal combustion engine as an energy source via heat exchangers. More than 80 percent of the heat energy contained in the exhaust gases is recycled using this technology.

The steam is then conducted directly into an expansion unit linked to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Most of the remaining residual heat is absorbed by the cooling circuit of the engine, which acts as the second energy supply for the Turbosteamer. This innovative drive assists verifiably increases the efficiency of the combined drive system by up to 15 percent. “The Turbosteamer reinforces our confidence that the internal combustion engine is undoubtedly a technology fit for the future,” comments Professor Burkhard Goeschel, Member of the Board of Management responsible for the development and purchasing at BMW AG.

Adequate space in today’s vehicle concepts. The development of this new drive assist has reached the phase involving comprehensive tests on the test rig. The components of this drive system have been designed so that they are capable of being installed in an existing model series. Experiments have been carried out on some sample packages to ensure that a car like the BMW 3 Series provides adequate space. The engine compartment of a four-cylinder model offers enough space to allow the expansion units to be accommodated.

System ready for volume production within ten years the ongoing development of the concept is focusing initially on making the components simpler and smaller. The long-term development goal is to have a system capable of volume production within ten years.

The big picture: project BMW Efficient Dynamics. BMW Group Research and Engineering have demonstrated the medium-term perspectives of the project BMW Efficient Dynamics. “This project resolves the apparent contradiction between consumption and emission reductions on the one hand and performance and agility on the other,” is how Professor Burkhard Goeschel, summarizes the core concept of the program. The BMW Group is committed to the principle that a reduction in consumption amounting to a few percentage points over the entire model range exerts higher overall effects on the general population than high percentage points for a niche model. BMW is focusing on making the latest technologies for reduced consumption accessible to as many people as possible.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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