The Chinese automotive R&D company, Techrules, best known for its revolutionary Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system in the Ren supercars, will start producing and selling a 45-kW turbine in small series in June 2020, with mass production expected to commence by the end of this year. The 45KW turbine runs on renewable fuels and can be used as stand-alone power generator to provide electricity, heating or cooling wherever it is needed. A smaller 15 kW turbine will follow in 2021, specifically developed for use as range extender in passenger cars, while the 45 kW version is more suitable for use in commercial vehicles since these require more power.
At the Geneva International Motor Shows of 2017 and 2018, Techrules showcased its patent-protected series hybrid powertrain technology comprising a 80 kW turbine-generator in the Ren supercars. TREV delivers unprecedented levels of efficiency and performance, and its environmental impact is ultra-low, especially when renewable fuels are used such as biogas, methanol or ethanol. Although the company still has plans to become an automotive producer, the key focus is on developing, producing and selling micro-turbines first.
The inventor of the micro-turbine, Chief Technology Officer of Techrules, Matthew Jin, said: ‘Especially when it’s running on renewable fuels, our technology helps to fight global warming as it substantially reduces the output of CO2 by stimulating the cultivation of plants to produce biofuels. It is therefore no real surprise to us that the use of our technology as a range extender and also as a charging station for electric vehicles has created massive interest from companies and institutions around the world. As a range extender, the smaller 15kW and 45 kW turbines are more suitable for use in passenger cars and commercial vehicles, as opposed to the 80 kW version that we used in the Ren supercars. However, this will require co-development with interested OEMs which, in turn, will require massive resources from our end. That’s why we have decided to focus our efforts on the 45 kW turbine initially, which is almost ready for production here in China and for sales markets around the world.’
The 45 kW turbine can be used as a generator to provide heating, cooling and electricity in remote areas or as a support and back-up for large power plants. The turbine is far more efficient than the diesel generators that are currently widely used, because it runs efficiently on a variety of fuels including renewable fuels such as biogas, ethanol and methanol. It also has a high tolerance of hydrous or low heat value fuel and requires hardly any maintenance.
To generate heat, the 45 kW turbine efficiently burns fuel such as ethanol, methanol or biogas to produce electricity and uses heat recovery devices to capture the heat from the turbine. This heat is converted into useful thermal energy, usually in the form of steam or hot water and used for purposes such as commercial buildings, residential areas, colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, military bases, local energy systems, wastewater treatment facilities, schools and production facilities. This reduces emissions and pollutants because less fuel is required to produce a given energy output, and the method cuts out the transmission and distribution losses that occur when electricity travels over power lines.
Matthew Jin: ‘The mass production of micro-turbines is only possible because of our innovative hybrid air bearing system. The fact that it can run on renewable fuels means that we can help to facilitate a smooth transition from the age of fossil fuels to the age of electricity, anywhere in the world. For us, this is an extremely meaningful way of helping to combat global warming and reducing CO2 levels in our atmosphere.’
Matthew Jin concludes: ‘We are currently in discussion with a number of potential customers in and outside of China. Selling the 45 kW turbine as a power generator will allow us to build up production volume quickly, which we expect to reach around 100,000 units over time. We are now finalising negotiations with local municipalities regarding the site of the plant and are looking forward to starting production of the largest micro-turbine generator facility in the world.’