ANSYS Advantage SPOTLIGHT ON TURBOMACHINERY. Volume VII, Issue 3, 2013
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ENERGY EFFICIENCY: A UNIVERSAL CHALLENGE
Turbomachines power the world around us. “Turn or burn” systems play a central role in the cars we drive, the planes that transport us, and the electricity that powers our homes and offices every day.
While the applications for turbomachinery are incredibly diverse, there is one challenge shared by turbomachinery engineers: the need to improve energy efficiency. For commercial airlines, fuel accounts for 30 to 40 percent of overall operating costs. While lightweight materials, improved aerodynamics and other initiatives help to drive greater fuel economy, engine enhancements are still the primary source of efficiency gains. The improved fuel economy of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 XWB are newsworthy examples. Furthermore, the airline industry is acutely aware of its responsibility to the environment. While airline traffic makes a relatively small contribution to environmental pollution, efficiency gains go hand in hand with environmental benefits.
In the global automotive industry, pressures to improve fuel economy come from many sources — including consumer cost concerns, tightening government regulations and increased awareness of climate change. Automotive engineering teams race to develop higher-compression engines; more-efficient turbocharger designs; and new composites, alloys and coatings that will dramatically improve fuel efficiency in cars and trucks.