While common sense might lead one to conclude otherwise, increasing energy consumption worldwide is a good thing. Higher per capita energy consumption is associated with a higher quality of life: electricity for home appliances, transportation, affordable heating, lighting and so on. On the other hand, there is and should be enormous concern about the type of energy being used to fuel this increased consumption stemming from issues such as environmental impact, national security, etc.
The answer lies in sustainable development: development that meets the needs of the future without damaging the planet for future generations. In practical terms, it means using our resources as efficiently as possible while investing in long term solutions that will increase our reliance on renewable energy.
From power plants and aircraft engines to refineries and the fan cooling your computer – there is no question, turbomachinery is a part of everyday life. They are at the heart of many industry sectors: steam and gas turbines in power generation, pumps in petrochemical, compressors in refrigeration, turbochargers in transportation, aerospace, space and so on. Small improvements in the efficiency of these vital parts can have an enormous benefit when spread over a myriad of applications. The ability of turbomachinery to deliver performance improvement plays a vital role in sustainable development.
The question is: how do you drive improvements in such mature industries? The answer is to equip today’s engineers with advanced design and manufacturing tools with state-of-the-art CFD simulation to deliver increasing efficiencies while improving reliability and reducing the cost of manufacturing. Additionally, optimization tools that work across the various stages in the design process help to achieve performance improvements that were previously unattainable. The turbocharger industry is an ideal example of the benefits that can be realized in an integrated beginning-to-end process, thanks to high-level research and development into looking at the problem at a systemic level that has resulted in superior components and performance being available at lower cost to the consumer. This technology allows passenger vehicles to downsize the engine with increasing efficiencies and the same power output, while marine engines can realize extra power and less harmful combustion, thanks to extra boosting.
There is no universal equation to approach sustainability. Different regions, climates and even cultures require different solutions to meet their needs. In the turbomachinery world, this translates into different fluids, flow rates, inlet conditions and creative alternatives to harvest/deliver energy for each application. Working with reputable partners and robust tools can help solve the challenges inherent in global sustainable development. Concepts NREC is proud to offer solutions for sustainable development that will power today's needs without harming the environment for future generations.