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Case Study

Turbotech Develops Efficient Aeronautical Propulsion Solutions Using Ansys’ Simulation


TEstablished in 2017, Turbotech is a French-based company providing efficient and sustainable flight solutions with high-powered, low-consumption propulsion systems to the light aircraft industry. Light aircraft includes small planes or helicopters with a maximum takeoff weight of 12,500 lbs. To power the eco-friendly propulsion systems, Turbotech first incorporated Ansys simulation in optimizing heat exchanger technology and continues to integrate Ansys’ tools to power their pioneering regenerative turbines and subsequent products. This includes the first low fuel burn turboprop, the first turbogenerators for hybridelectric aircraft, and forthcoming hydrogen-powered turbomachinery.


Challenges

As a startup company, Turbotech had limited resources and needed access to simulation tools at a low cost. Additionally, they sought tools that were user-friendly, capable, and accurate. Coupled with structural analyses, Turbotech engineers needed competent tools to observe the aerodynamics of the turbine, including its behavior and vibration.

Engineering Solution

With access to Ansys’ structures and fluids products package through the Ansys Academic Program, Turbotech integrated Ansys Mechanical, Ansys Fluent, and Ansys CFX into their workflow at an affordable cost. Ansys’ multiphysics simulation enabled them to develop efficient propulsion systems at an accelerated pace, such as the first regenerative turboprop with the TP-R90 model (capable of up to 130 horsepower) and the first turbogenerators equipped for hybrid-electric aircraft with the TG-R55 and TG-R90 models for 55-kilowatt and 90-kilowatt continuous running power, respectively. Turbotech is also developing hydrogen-powered turbomachinery to offer customers greater energy efficiency. Turbotech’s turboprops are suitable for small planes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly known as drones), while the turbogenerators are fit for hybrid planes and hybrid electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Benefits

  • Ansys simulation accelerated Turbotech’s development by five times , enabling them to complete each product’s prototype in two years instead of an expected 10-year period, which resulted in parallel cost savings. 
  • Turbotech used Mechanical, Fluent, and CFX to analyze and measure thermal and strain deformation, vibration, pressure losses, combustion, and fluid flow. 
  • Ansys simulation helped Turbotech determine the number of cycles — i.e., each shutdown and start-up of the engine — it could manage in its lifetime. Turbotech’s turboprop and turbogenerator both have an impressive time of 3,000 hours between overhauls. 
  • Turbotech is currently using Ansys’ tools to develop hydrogen-powered turbines that will support on-board cryogenic storage and contribute even more to sustainable aviation.

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