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TurbAero Recuperator

Robbie Culver


At this year’s AirVenture, TurbAero is presenting a metal mock-up of its TA200TP Talon recuperator turboprop engine that is plumbed with a five-bladed DUC propeller on a dedicated test bed RV-7A. The intended market for the engine will initially be the experimental market, specifically aircraft that use the IO-320 or IO-360 engine, such as RVs and Velocitys. TurbAero has created a firewall forward (FWF) package for the RV-7A airframe, including an engine mount.


Berni Breen, TurbAero head of sales, said that the current headquarters in Adelaide, Australia, is moving to Phoenix, Arizona, and all engineering and manufacturing will be in Phoenix. The engine is in its fifth year of development and is a unique recuperated turboprop engine with initial entry as an experimental 200-hp engine, with a maximum continuous power (MCP) of 190 hp and optimum cruise power of 180 hp. A certified version is also planned.

Founders Dave and Andrew Limmer developed the engine concept six years ago. Breen said the company chose the RV-7 test bed due to popularity, and any experimental with an IO-320 or IO-360 can look at this as a potential powerplant replacement. The engine is flat rated and derated so it sees 200 hp on the runway and also at 8,000 feet. Breen added, “Velocity aircraft is very interested and supportive” of the concept.

The recuperated concept uses a heat exchanger with a free turbine split-shaft design. The optimum rpm of each shaft is different. Intake air enters and is compressed, and the temperature is raised quickly and cheaply to about 200 degrees Celsius. Then through the recuperator (heat exchanger), heat is transferred from the exhaust to the inlet air. This raises the temperature to about 400 degrees C without using fuel.

When fuel is introduced in the combustor, the temperature is raised to about 900 degrees C, and the process gives back 100 degrees C of energy to spin the gas generator turbine. The power turbine is connected to the gearbox and propeller at 800 degrees C and produces about 200 hp to the gearbox and propeller.

Targeted fuel consumption for the initial design is 0.57 pounds/hp/hour for an estimated 12.6 gph/47.6 liters per hour using Jet A fuel. The proprietary recuperator technology allows for improved fuel efficiency over existing turboprop designs.

At AirVenture 2021, the company began taking production slot reservations without taking money. Interested buyers can go to its website at Turb.Aero/how-to-buy/register-interest, fill out some information, and when the time comes potential customers will be contacted to see if they are interested in purchasing the engine. No deposit is required for the slot reservation.

TurbAero may be found in the Homebuilt Aircraft Display area of AirVenture 2022, in Booth 638, or at https://Turb.Aero.

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