Functions of Turbo Chargers for Marine Diesel Engines

Blog | September 14th, 2018

Definitions and purposes aside, marine turbochargers have functions to perform. Refer to past articles for more information on their roles. Meanwhile, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of these horsepower-boosting engine turbines. Cutting to the core of the matter, turbochargers for marine diesel engines are designed to boost engine performance. To realize these propulsion-optimizing functions, the component uses a few geometry-based maneuvers to funnel an engines’ exhaust gasses.

Turbocharger Geometry 

Marine diesel engines use exhaust injecting turbines to maximize powerplant efficiency. A ship, equipped with this fitting, gains power and responsiveness, plus a corresponding measure of fuel efficiency. Now, in order to squeeze every iota of power out of those gasses as they leave the engine manifold, the turbine architecture compresses the already violent fluid emissions. Essentially, the turbine geometry tames and focusses the fluid discharge, then feeds it back into the engine as a secondary fuel-ignition medium. Engine aspiration goes up, fuel consumption goes down, and there’s additional power under the throttle controller.

Improved Propulsion Responsiveness 

Actively ramming compressed air into a diesel marine engine’s intake manifold, the turbocharger eliminates those unacceptable moments when the throttle fails to deliver. If that lever or controller receives a nudge, then the response from the propulsion system is instant, well, it is as long as the turbine is functioning properly. Realistically speaking, there are no roads out on the open water, so there’s no need to feel that satisfying tug of inertia while overtaking another vehicle. Still, there are moments when that feeling of responsiveness from a seagoing craft can be exhilarating. On larger craft, that extra horsepower, plus responsive edge, can make a ship’s steering system that much easier to master.

The Environmental Factor 

Here’s a function that doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. Because of the improved combustion cycle, as provided by the turbocharger, diesel marine engines burn more fuel. Now, with the fuel leaving the combustion chamber, there are less environmentally harmful emissions entering the atmosphere. Technically, that turbine isn’t a fluid filtration mechanism, but it sure functions like an active filter, for it allows a ship’s propulsion system to meet the higher emissions eliminating regulations that rule national and international waters today. Finally, just as a convenient side-effect, there’s less waste exiting the engine, so the cylinder combustion bowl stays cleaner longer.

Like active air pumps, marine turbochargers optimize propulsion systems. They deliver vast amounts of air to an engine’s combustion chamber, where the fuel burning cycle is optimized. The exhaust is clean, so clean that it satisfies the latest, most stringent seagoing emissions standards. Meanwhile, up in the cabin, boat owners can enjoy a more responsive, more performance-tuned sailing experience without using extra fuel.

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