## New Efficient Supercharger with Variable Drive for Downsized Gasoline Engines

##### 22 September 2010

Rotrak, the new 50:50 joint-venture between traction drive specialist Torotrak plc and centrifugal supercharger company Rotrex AS, will present a highly efficient supercharger system in a paper at the 15th Supercharging Conference in Dresden on 24 September. The joint venture company combines a Rotrex supercharger with a Torotrak full-toroidal traction drive to produce a mechanical supercharger system that overcomes the problems inherent in conventional supercharger and turbocharger systems.

Turbo lag can become increasingly intrusive as engines get smaller. Superchargers are mechanically geared to enhance performance at either low or high engine speeds. The Rotrak solution overcomes this constraint by connecting the supercharger to the engine by a compact variable drive, allowing efficient operation across the whole engine speed range.

The need to reduce CO2 emissions is leading to downsized engines, heavily boosted by turbo- or supercharging. But while these engines easily reach high peak power and torque figures, they struggle to provide the required low-speed response. A fully integrated centrifugal compressor connected to the engine via a variable drive will achieve a unique combination of low- and high-speed performance with a highly cost-effective system.

—Torotrak engineering manager David Burtt, co-author of the paper

Gasoline engines are typically less expensive than diesels for the same application but have higher exhaust temperatures, making advanced turbocharging more difficult.

Independent analysis has estimated that the world market for pressure-charged gasoline engines will grow from 2.5 million today to 12 million by 2016. The emergence of a practical and cost-effective way to supercharge small gasoline engines could have significant market impact.

—David Burtt

Beside performance (hp) gain, what total efficiency gain (% or mpg) can be obtained with improved turbo? Smaller + lighter ICE, when coupled with lighter lower drag body, could provide better mpg.

This is like putting a CVT on a supercharger, kind of clever. We are trading hardware for fuel, so when fuel costs are $4000 per year and you can save$1000 per year on a more advanced model, people may consider it.

You'd think that with all the innovations documented by this site recently, someone would put them all together in one vehicle platform for a true quantum leap forward for the common ICE vehicle. Take an OPOC engine, add Fiat multi-air technology, a Rotrak supercharger, Transonic supercritical fuel injection, and add an Antonov TX-6 transmission...then you should have a platform for a vehicle that gets insanely good mileage.

I agree, one could go down the list of new developments and pick the best to make one heck of a car. Cost and price will always be an issue, but when trading costs with $4+ per gallon gas, the decisions become easier. Problem is, with all the gas-saving devices and with oncoming PHEV's, etc. gasoline prices won't be$4 but may just hover around $2, enough to dampen any further incentive for higher fuel efficiency or petroleum-sparing technologies. OPEC may be tempted to drive gas down to below$2 in order to destroy existing investments in alternative fuel technologies, and to prevent any future of such.

I think demand from the BRIC countries (especially China and India) will be enough to keep the oil market buoyant for quite some time.

Gasoline is $6-7 / US Gallon now in Europe (and has been for some time), and people get by, mainly by driving smaller cars, driving diesels and driving less. There has been no apocalypse. [Just Ford Fiestas and diesel Golfs] (etc) Before the Great Recession, demand was 87 million barrels per day and supply was 85 million barrels per day world wide. Once the world economy starts to come back we could see demand go to 100 million barrels per day world wide and supply no where near catching up. Demand will always equal supply (plus inventory changes); the price will move until they match. The exhaust-temperature issue isn't hard to handle by venting intake air into the exhaust to cool it (and EGT affects catalytic converters and filters, so it has to be managed regardless). Turbocharging eliminates the crankshaft load of supercharging, and can even feed exhaust energy back to the crankshaft (in diesels). Demand does not always equal supply, where do you get these "ideas"? Roger. If that happens, it would be the ideal time to increase gas taxes by up to$2/gal.

The new Mercedes S250 is using some of the new ways to reduce fuel consumption as low as 41/mpg. If all known ways were used, including lither bodies with less drag, 60+/mpg would be possible.

Demand does not always equal supply
Of course it does. You can't even say what supply and demand are without specifying the price. The demand for aluminum at the price corresponding to pre-electrolytic methods of production was very small, but aluminum was not produced in excess of the demand. The demand for widgets (or barrels of oil) is going to change enormously as the price goes from $1 to$10 to $100. Supply can't get beyond demand by more than the available storage, and at some price floor the producers can't afford to build/pump any. where do you get these "ideas"? Classical economics. Demand may not go away, but substitution enters. If gasoline is$10 per gallon, some may use the bus, but their desire (demand) does not go away. If they get a raise in pay, they may buy gasoline again and drive, if they supply is available at the price they can afford. Either way, demand is still there.

There can be a world demand for oil that exceeds supply and we are about to see that happen. You can drive the price up and demand will appear to go away, but it does not. It is just the amount transacted at the given price that appears to be equilibrium. Demand can be thought of as the desire to purchase at a given price, but none is available at that price and the desire does not go away.

Another example is a cartel like OPEC. If world active demand wants 2 million barrels per day, but OPEC says no, then active demand exceeds available supply, because OPEC controls supply. It does not matter the bid price, the answer is NO.

Another example is demand destruction. If I buy an EV and like it, then I may not go back to gasoline even if the price goes down.

If gasoline is $5 per gallon, but supply is tight, there may be a line to get gasoline until the supply runs out. The people at the back of the line still demand gasoline at$5 per gallon, but there is no supply.

Raising the price to $10 per gallon will not bring more supply, the gasoline tanker truck does not arrive until next Tuesday. They are not likely to build more refineries nor drill more wells right away, so at$10 per gallon people buy EVs and you have demand destruction through substitution.

Just because on a given day a certain amount is sold at a given price does not say much about supply and demand. How much oil is in the pipeline? How many drivers have to drive farther in the future? Certainly potential demand in China and India is probably going to rise. It is not there yet, but people are contemplating that.

Demand may not go away, but substitution enters. If gasoline is $10 per gallon, some may use the bus, but their desire (demand) does not go away. Desire isn't demand. Most of the world desires more food, housing, transport, or other things than it can afford. I can desire single-malt scotch but drink cheap wine because it's all I can pay for; the price of single-malt results in "demand destruction". Ditto if the bus is all someone can afford. Demand destruction can be long-term. If people switch from 22-MPG vehicles to 40-MPG vehicles, their demand will almost certainly be slashed for the duration of their car loan. If they switch to the bus and scrap their car or allow it to fall into disrepair, their demand will be slashed until they can repair or replace it. If they get a raise in pay, they may buy gasoline again and drive Thereby raising the price, pushing someone else out of the market for the limited and shrinking supply of petroleum. Demand will change to match the supply, unless and until the price falls so far that producers cut back or go bankrupt (which appears unlikely to happen, as it is not in the interest of anyone with the capability to do anything about it). There can be a world demand for oil that exceeds supply and we are about to see that happen. That's not "demand" as used in economics. There has been a world desire for oil which is well beyond what's currently pumped; it's been that way since the price runup which began in 2005. The world would happily consume 90 million barrels per day if could be supplied for$20/bbl. Reality is over $70/bbl and demand around 84 million bbl/day at that price. Another example is demand destruction. If I buy an EV and like it, then I may not go back to gasoline even if the price goes down. If you buy an EV (presumably trading in a car to buy it), you're going to be driving it until you can afford another vehicle. There is a certain amount of lock-in involved, and other inertia besides. US gasoline consumption took until the 1990's to recover to the pre-oil-shock level despite oil having been inexpensive for quite some time. People who bought Rabbits and Omnis and Chevettes didn't just go out and double their driving when gas prices fell by half; it took years for memory to fade and the SUV phenomenon to get going. It's taking equally long for the SUV phenomenon to die (a well-deserved and overdue death). If gasoline is$5 per gallon, but supply is tight
Meaning the commodity is underpriced. Political interference like "anti-gouging" laws always create rationing by unavailability instead of demand destruction by price.
there may be a line to get gasoline until the supply runs out. The people at the back of the line still demand gasoline at $5 per gallon, but there is no supply. Raising the price to$10 per gallon will not bring more supply

No, but it may have cut demand to match the supply instead of under-pricing the commodity (which always leads to shortages). If the price went up to $10, people going out of the area would fill up before returning and might even bring some extra containers for additional fuel. If the price is artifiacally limited this doesn't happen until there are outright shortages. Under priced and overpriced are just convenient terms to make things fit they way you want them to. We will see gasoline go above$5 per gallon WITH shortages. I don't think you will have lots of people agreeing that gasoline over $5 per gallon is "under priced" except by some convenient definition in terms. Those are just economic circular explanations for something that should never have happened in the first place. We need methanol to substitute for gasoline NOW. Not 5 years from now, we do not have that much time. I do not want to say years from now that I told you so. I want us to get ahead of the curve and head off a major problem before it occurs. Let's show ourselves how smart we really are and stop reacting to problems after they become huge. Let's get at the problem while it is still small, before it becomes too large to deal with. There is also price elasticity of demand and supply. The price of oil quadrupled but the supply did not, the demand actually went up. With oil 4 time the price, the supply did not go up four fold and the demand did not go down by 3/4. The convenient explanation is that the oil was under priced, that is convenient but where is the equilibrium point? When most are priced out of the market and economies collapse? We can not play experimental economic games trying to fit the square peg in the round hole. Too many people's lives and incomes are at stake. That is an after the fact experiment with too many lives on the line, that is wrong to do. After you turn this knob or that one and the collapse occurs, "oops" just does not cut it. Quit trying to find convenient circular explanations to tell people that this is just the way it is, as if it is a natural process. Economies are man made, they do not follow natural physical laws. What goes up must come down is a simple attempt to explain complex situations and it does nothing to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place. Under priced and overpriced are just convenient terms to make things fit they way you want them to. Underpriced and overpriced refer to the market-clearing price, which is the price at which all product gets sold (no excess) without any unsatisfied buyers willing to pay that price (no shortage). You don't do yourself any favors by showing how ignorant you are of elementary economics. We will see gasoline go above$5 per gallon WITH shortages.
Only if prices are controlled, otherwise prices will increase to constrain demand without explicit or implicit rationing. No rational actor will leave money on the table unless they are forced to.
I don't think you will have lots of people agreeing that gasoline over $5 per gallon is "under priced" except by some convenient definition in terms. It's only over-priced if they refuse to buy it and leave the sellers with inventory they can't move. I keep hoping for this to happen, but American consumers are remarkably resistant to following the reasoning to this conclusion. It's not intellectually difficult, but it goes against social expectations; it's unassailable, but taboo. We need methanol to substitute for gasoline NOW. I'm quite familiar with corn farmers arguing that we need more ethanol (self-interest talking), but what benefit do you get from methanol (do you own shale-gas shares)? On the technical end, where do you see the raw material for all this methanol coming from? I do not want to say years from now that I told you so. I want us to get ahead of the curve and head off a major problem before it occurs. I've been saying that about hybrids and electrics for 20 years. It's too late to avoid, now it's a mattter of damage control and far too little is being done. Taxing gasoline to$5/gallon would be a good start.
The price of oil quadrupled but the supply did not, the demand actually went up.
Between what dates? World oil production (aka demand) has fallen roughly 2 million bbl/day since the 2008 peak. It fell after the 1970's shocks as well. In short, you're full of it.

Around the peak a number of e.g. island nations were unable to pay for oil to run their electric grids and were at risk of going dark. That's demand destruction. A more controlled form of demand destruction is Aruba's new wind farm; oil is being displaced by renewables.

"You don't do yourself any favors by showing how ignorant you are of elementary economics."

I have completed four semesters of economics, two lower division macro and micro and two upper division macro and micro with good grades. Would you care to share your academic achievements in economics?

There is education and then there is indoctrination. When you only take one semester of micro/macro economics you hear about how it is suppose to work, if all markets filled and cleared perfectly. If you go further with your education you learn that it actually does not work that way.

I have completed four semesters of economics, two lower division macro and micro and two upper division macro and micro with good grades.
Then define "overpriced" in terms other than "more than I want to pay".

I am done talking with you.

I could dismiss you with a snarky comment like "thank goodness for small favors", but you've really missed an opportunity here.

Despite your alleged superior education in economics, you haven't cited anything to back up your assertion about "over-pricing". I've linked to a definition of the market-clearing price, but if there are other relevant factors it would benefit others reading this thread to know what they are and how they work. Even if I would never believe you, you've failed to make your case to them.

If what you've got is the subject of established coursework, it's probably got a good write-up somewhere on the web. Link to it. It can't hurt.

The problem is that most leaders and governments aren't too knowledgeable in Economics, and that's why we are in the big mess that we are in today!

One party believes in tax cut as a cure for all economic problems, and another party believes in more government spending and government programs as the panacea. All are intended as sound bites designed attract votes by the average, common people, with little comprehension of the economic process at hand, instead of a careful analysis and engineered plan by the engineers to coordinate all sectors and level of government with the private sectors.

Only the wealthy in the private sectors can have enough capital to create investments and businesses and jobs to ride out of the recession and the catastrophic budget deficit. Tax cuts for the rich or for small business won't help creating any jobs, if they don't know what to invest in that would give them a good return and a more certain future.

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