What is a hybrid turbo?

What is a hybrid turbo? 2018-02-04T21:35:44+00:00

Hybrid turbochargers are not a new idea. Turbo Technics started producing hybrids as long ago as 1985, and today continues to lead in this specialised field. The term ‘Hybrid’ covers a very wide range, from a minor uprate to a completely redesigned turbo. The essential point to remember is that a hybrid turbo, by itself, will not generally give a significant power boost and should always be matched to the requirements of the engine for best results.

For many road-going cars, a standard specification, good quality Service Exchange turbocharger will be capable of giving a small increase in power with minor modification to the engine and ECU. Hybrid turbos only become necessary when significant performance improvement is required, normally on a modified engine. Many hybrid turbochargers will look identical to standard units from the outside. The changes occur inside, by using different aerodynamic configurations, both in the compressor and turbine wheels, and different bearing systems.

Turbo Technics are in a unique position to choose from a comprehensive range of components. This allows our engineers to “pick-and-mix” turbocharger components to achieve the desired characteristics needed for a particular application. Obviously there are limits, but this ability together with a comprehensive manufacturing capability sets Turbo Technics apart from others in producing very effective hybrid turbos. Beyond this, our engineering team has the ability to design components from scratch where this is needed.

Most turbocharged engines respond well to increased boost pressure, but only if the engine is modified to capitalise on the change. A hybrid turbo on a standard engine may offer a small benefit, but will be more effective on a modified engine. Increasing the boost pressure also increases the internal loading within the turbocharger, and often requires a change to the bearing system usually incorporating a 360° thrust. Turbo Technics have developed a manufacturing process to make these precision parts from solid, giving a greater bearing contact face to withstand the high loads, which would otherwise destroy a standard bearing very quickly.

Turbo Technics will occasionally specify a “cut-back” shaft wheel. This is the exhaust-driven turbine wheel inside the turbocharger and to improve the gasflow, the outlet part of the blades are sometimes ground.

There is always an element of compromise between power capability and low speed response, and the engineering challenge is to find the optimal balance. By selecting the most suitable components or if necessary a bespoke design, it is generally possible to arrive at a combination of good drivability with the required power output.