Air-driven Tesla turbine for power generation



Streamline Automation has developed a Tesla blade-less turbine to use for mechanical power production for the Next Generation Jammer Pod Program (PMA-234).  This device is capable of extracting mechanical power from a moving air stream. Power extraction takes place by friction of the incoming air with a large number of closely spaced, flat disks mounted on a common shaft, that form the rotor of the turbine. Each power module can produce 15kW and can be scaled up or down to meet total power requirements for each pod.


Extensive testing has been performed on a turbine with a reduced stack of disks at the Wichita State University, National Institute for Aviation. Testing has demonstrated efficiencies over 40% at typical flow conditions for pod applications.


Why a Tesla turbine?


The Tesla turbine design has the following advantages:


  • Compact design thanks to the reduction in volume of internal air ducts (inlet and exhaust) compared to axial turbines,
  • Modularity: the pod's mechanical power production system can have several power modules distributed throughout the pod as necessary,
  • Scalability: the turbine can be scaled up or down without necessity for additional research and development efforts,
  • Low speed operation eliminates the need for gearbox coupling to the electrical generator
  • Design simplicity reduces total cost of ownership (e.g. maintenance and repair, upgrades, etc.).


This technology also has applications as a bottoming cycle power reclamation stage for conventional power plants, and as a main power generation in future green/renewable energy systems (e.g. biomass/biofuel fired plants, solar power, etc.).