Turbocharger vs. Compressor: which is better?

A look under the hood. © pixabay.Com, andreas160578

In times of diesel crisis, cars are in the media every day. And although this is also a matter of environmental concern, the demand for high-performance vehicles continues to be high. According to statista, one in five Germans wants more than 150 hp, and the proportion has been rising for years. About 4.73 million german citizens own such a car.

The power that an internal combustion engine can generate depends primarily on how much fuel can be burned and how quickly and efficiently this heat is converted into mechanical power. Fuel, however, needs air (actually the oxygen contained in air) to burn. Therefore, the maximum power of an engine actually depends largely on how much air can be taken in to burn the fuel.

This is how the concept of supplying the engine with more air than it would normally take in came about. This additional intake air can be supplied either by a turbocharger or a compressor. Both systems work very differently.

Two technologies with one goal: more power

A turbocharger uses the speed and heat energy of hot and expanding exhaust gases flowing from an engine’s cylinders to keep a turbine moving, which drives an impeller that in turn blows more air into the engine. A compressor also pumps air into the engine, but is driven mechanically by the engine via a belt or by an electric motor.

Each of these performance-enhancing technologies has its advantages and disadvantages. Modern turbochargers can reach speeds of almost 300 rpm.000 rpm and the plain bearings of the turbocharger shaft are very sensitive, say the experts for a turbocharger change at caroobi.

The most obvious difference for the driver of a vehicle with a turbocharger compared to a supercharged model, however, is the slight delay in reaction, especially when the accelerator pedal is fully depressed. This is because the turbocharger needs a moment to rev up before there is any additional boost. It takes a short time for the waste heat and pressure to reach a sufficiently high level.

Compressors increase fuel consumption

In contrast, a compressor has no deceleration. Since the pump is directly connected to the engine’s crankshaft, it always rotates with the engine and reacts immediately. The increase in power is therefore immediate when pressure is applied to the gas pedal pedal. While the main disadvantage of the turbocharger is its lag time, with the compressor it is the efficiency of the turbocharger. Since a compressor uses the engine’s own power to turn itself, it sucks the power away. such engines therefore tend to consume more.

Car manufacturers have a clear favorite: the turbocharger wins because of its fuel efficiency. Here, politics is the driving factor, because the requirements for more environmentally friendly vehicles are becoming more and more stringent.

Turbos make it possible to replace V6 engines with four-cylinder ones that offer more torque for the same power output. The same applies to V8 vs. V6 aggregates. Only a few brands, volvo for example, use both technologies in their models.

Electric charging as a future-oriented alternative

In the meantime, a third variant has appeared on the market: electric turbocharging. V6 turbochargers are combined with an electrically driven compressor. A electric motor spins a compressor to create a torque surge to plug the familiar turbocharger hole. And so, although the turbocharger is currently still ahead, the compressor is far from dead.

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