In 2014, the rules for F1 engine and energy recovery system were changed. As per the new regulations, 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8 engines have now been replaced by 1.6 litre V6 turbo engine with direct fuel injection.
So, What is a powerunit?
The Power unit forms the heart of a F1 car and instead of now referring the engine as single entity it is now referred to as a power unit. So, what are the parts of the power unit?
The power unit is built around the 1.6 litre v6 turbo engine and following are the parts comprising the power unit:
1. 1.6 Litre V6 Turbo Engine with direct fuel injection
3. MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit Kinetic)
4. MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit Heat)
5. ERS Control Unit
Now, let’s take an indepth look into the various components comprising a power unit:
1.6 Litre V6 Turbocharged Engine:
The engine is still an internal combustion engine but it has been downsized and has less cylinders now compared to previously used 2.4 litre V8 engines.
Also, according to the new regulations the fuel usage has been limited to 100 kg per race from the grid to chequered flag, and the fuel tank size has also been reduced.
So, the current engine produces less power than previously used V8’s but the fuel efficiency of these engines is very high and forced induction systems such as the turbochargers are used to maintain same level of power output with a substantially decreased engine size and fuel consumption.
Also, the Energy recovery system(ERS) compensates for the significant decrease in power output by delivering an extra of 161 bhp to the engines 600 bhp.
Motor Generator Unit:
Before the advent of Energy recovery systems, the energy was lost in form of kinetic energy under braking and the thermal energy in form of the exhaust gases. Here’s where the motor generator unit comes into play.
In simple words, the Motor Generator Unit recovers the energy which would earlier have been lost in form of braking and exhaust gases.
There are two Motor generator units in a F1 car and these are MGU-Kinetic and the MGU-Heat. The MGU-kinetic captures the kinetic energy generated under braking and converts this kinetic energy into electrical energy which is saved in the battery.
The MGU-Heat recovers thermal energy from the hot exhaust gases for the exhaust pipes and feeds it either directly into MGU-K or stores the energy into the battery.
ECU: (ERS Control Unit)
This basically is the computer which controls how much energy that has to be harvested from the brakes or from the exhaust gases. The ECU can be controlled by the driver from the steering wheel and the amount of energy that has to be harvested or consumed can be controlled via the ECU.
ECU also plays an important part in controlling the brake performance by interacting with the brake by wire systems.
The energy harvested by the Motor Generator Unit is stored temporarily in the batteryfor use later in the lap.
The turbocharged is a device which increases the engine efficiency and power output by the means of forced induction i.e by pumping extra air into the engine.
So, how does it exactly work?
A turbocharger consists of two parts i.e:
- Compressor: This consists of a compressor wheel and a compressor housing.
The exhaust gases exiting at very high speeds rotate the turbine.
The compressor wheel is attached to the turbine by a forged steel shaft, and as the turbine turns the compressor wheel, the high-velocity spinning draws in air and compresses it.
The compressor housing then converts the high-velocity, low-pressure air stream into a high-pressure, low-velocity air stream through a process called diffusion. The compressed air is pushed into the engine, allowing the engine to burn more fuel to produce more power.
Note: This is just a brief description about each of the power unit parts. A more detailed article on each part is in the development so stay tuned. (Nishant Raj)
|2013 V8 +KERS||2015 POWERUNIT|
|Power||730 hp + 80 hp for 7 seconds||760|
|Fuel consumption for a race||150kg||100kg|
|Empty car weight||642kg||691kg|
|Race start car weight||802 kg||791kg|
|No. of Units allowed for each driver in a season||8 engines||4 power unit|
RENAULT ENERGY F1 POWER UNIT TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
|Number of cylinders||6|
|Pressure charging||Single turbocharger, unlimited boost pressure (typical maximum 3.5 bar abs due to fuel flow limit)|
|Fuel flow limit||100 kg/hr (-40% from V8)|
|Permitted Fuel quantity per race||100 kg (-35% from V8)|
|Number of valves||4 per cylinder, 24|
|Exhausts||Single exhaust outlet, from turbine on car centre line|
|Fuel||Direct fuel injection|
|Energy Recovery Systems|
|MGU-K rpm||Max 50,000 rpm|
|MGU-K power||Max 120kW|
|Energy recovered by MGU-K||Max 2MJ/lap|
|Energy released by MGU-K||Max 4 MJ/lap|
|Energy recovered by MGU-H||Unlimited (> 2MJ/lap)|
|Weight||Min 145 kg|
|Number of Power Units permitted per driver per year||5|
|Total horsepower||600hp (ICE) + 160hp (ERS)|