HiETA 2017 Year in Review

2017 Review

HiETA achieved a number of significant technical successes and growth in its capability in 2017. We look forward to another successful year in 2018 and working with our new and existing customers to innovate solutions to challenging requirements.

Key growth facts over 2017

Company size: 50% increase in company size, 40 engineers and support staff in total.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) machine capacity: 150% increase with nine machines total running across two sites. These include two Renishaw RENAM500M machines.

Material Capability: Addition of CM247LC and Inconel 718 machines.

Grant Funding: Secured £1.2M to continue research and maturation of product and process technologies

Export: Secured a number of contracts in overseas territories, including Europe, USA, and Asia.

IAAPS: Funding secured for the Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems led by Bath University which will enable companies, including HiETA, to conduct world-leading research.

Key technical facts in 2017

Heat transfer performance: Our proprietary AM heat transfer surfaces have improved by a further 40%, and now show volume goodness factors >5x those of conventional surfaces. This means that our heat exchangers can be as little as one fifth the size of the next best option.

Waste Heat Recovery System

A HiETA heat exchanger achieved >96% effectiveness, HiETA’s highest so far, in tests of an exhaust energy to power system that generated over 1kWe, in IBranch (Inverted Brayton Cycle for Waste Heat Recovery), an Innovate UK-funded collaborative R&D project with Bath University and AXES Design. Through this project, HiETA were also able to test a waste-heat heat exchanger to 36 bar, 650°C. The waste heat recovery system aims to deliver ~5% fuel savings for an automotive internal combustion engine over a standard drive cycle. The system imparts no back pressure on the engine and uses low-cost products to deliver the energy and weighs less than 10KG.

HiETA Recuperator in Ariel HiPERCAR

HiETA have designed and produced an additive manufactured MiTRE recuperator for use in the micro-turbine range extender system on the Ariel HiPERCAR. The project is destined for future release in 2019 and Ariel production in 2020 alongside the Atom, Nomad and Ace. Building on the output of the ‘MiTRE’ programme, a 17kW micro-turbine system released in 2016, Delta Motorsport have developed a 35kW version of its range extender to suit the HiPERCAR application. The unit features a gas turbine, running at a fixed 120,000 rpm to optimise efficiency, and operates at a nominal 750V generating power to maintain battery state of charge. HiETA was one of many collaborators of the MiTRE programme. The MiTRE recuperator is 6% more effective than equivalent conventionally manufactured solutions.

HiETA Recuperator Unveiled at IAA 2017 by Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe and Prodrive Technologies

MTEE, a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group company, has developed a power generator capable of charging the battery of an electric vehicle while driving. HiETA has developed a highly efficient recuperator specifically for the MTEE Range+ power generator. HiETA worked closely with MTEE during development to understand the system requirements and the solution delivered employs HiETA’s proprietary heat transfer surfaces along with integrated manifolds to reduce piping losses. HiETA has also designed and manufactured an optimised diffuser to ensure good flow distribution and heat transfer. The target specification for the produced Range+ series is a 31% overall efficiency, which will generate 30kWe, sufficient to drive a passenger vehicle at 130km/h speed continuously.

HiETA has designed and built the world’s first small cooled radial turbine wheel for a micro-turbine, in an Innovate UK-funded collaboration with the University of Bath

The thermal efficiency of a micro-turbine can be dramatically increased by raising the turbine inlet temperature from a typical 900oC to 1,200°C or more. Cooling the wheel eliminates the normal material constraints associated with these higher temperatures. Incorporating cooling channels also makes the wheel lighter, which reduces inertia and the forces on the microturbine’s high-speed bearings.  The cooled turbine wheel is one stage in HiETA’s journey towards its target efficiency of 40% for a 15 kWe microturbine.

So, what’s next?

Our plans for 2018 are even more ambitious. We will increase our current production portfolio and continue to increase the technology readiness levels of new products. Furthermore, we will continue to demonstrate the latest in Additive Manufacturing technologies in our technology centre as we implement Renishaw’s new RenAM500Q machine, which will enable us to dramatically increase process speed and productivity.