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Are Turbos Green Technology? And Other Burning Questions

Posted by Scott Goldfarb on

Diesel engines might not be your first thought when you think of green vehicles. But they are more green than you may think.

Turbochargers are known for increasing and enhancing speed, but that is not where the benefits stop. Diesel engines that are equipped with a turbocharger are able to utilize fuel more efficiently, which essentially cuts down the emissions the engine produces.

Here are some common questions and answers about turbocharging and how it can help your vehicle burn fuel as efficiently as possible.

How long have we had turbocharging technology?

Turbocharging was invented in the early 1900s by a Swiss engineer named Alfred Beech. Turbochargers didn't make their debut in vehicles until the 1960s.

In fuel, what burns, and what is left behind?

Hydrocarbons are the combustible element of fossil fuels. If an engine were completely efficient at combusting hydrocarbons in fossil fuels, it would leave behind just carbon dioxide and water. Both of these elements are necessary to the biosphere, and both are necessary for photosynthesis. They are both not toxic.

Since fuels leave behind nontoxic elements when they burn, why do we have emissions?

Unfortunately, a completely efficient engine is not possible, which leaves us with toxic particles and gas in emissions.

How do turbochargers affect the emissions?

Turbochargers increase the percentage of hydrocarbons that engines do burn, which means there are fewer toxic particles released into the air compared to a non-turbocharged engine.

How do turbochargers work?

Turbochargers compress air and then put compressed air in the cylinders of the engine. This allows more fuel to be added, which creates more power.

Are turbochargers an expensive way to help the environment?

Turbochargers are a cost-effective way to combat global warming. Fitting an engine with a turbocharger can cost around $1600, but that investment will reduce emissions by almost 40%.

How does a small engine with a turbocharger compare to a large engine without one?

Since turbochargers increase efficiency in engines, they can deliver the same amount of power and performance from a smaller engine as a larger engine that doesn't have a turbocharger would produce. They increase power and acceleration capabilities, improve fuel economy, and reduce CO2 emissions.

What is an example of how a smaller engine can compare to a larger engine?

Instead of using a six-cylinder engine, a vehicle can use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Not only would this engine be smaller than the six-cylinder, but it would also produce less exhaust and emissions and consume less fuel. The road performance would be enhanced, too.

Do turbochargers work in vehicles with natural gas, diesel fuel, or both?

Turbochargers can be fitted into vehicles that take natural gas or diesel fuel. They are the most effective at lowering emissions in vehicles that take diesel fuel.

Why are turbochargers more effective at lowering emissions in vehicles with diesel fuel?

Diesel fuel is more stable than natural gas. This means it is harder to ignite a gallon of diesel fuel with a match than it is to ignite a gallon of natural gas.

Fuel stability helps lower pre-combustion emissions. Fossil fuels will burn incompletely, which gives off a lot of emissions. Since diesel fuel is such a stable and energy-rich fuel, a turbocharger is more effective at increasing combustion efficiency. This creates more energy while simultaneously reducing toxic emissions.

What is turbo lag? Do I need to worry about it?

Turbochargers were not always known to be effective at improving the performance of a vehicle. The first turbos had turbo lag, which was a delay between pressing the pedal and the activation of the turbo. Today, however, vehicles are often equipped with twin-scroll and triple-scroll turbos that can create a continual use of turbocharger technology without the lag.

How else is turbocharger technology being used?

Vehicle manufacturers are adding turbocharger technology to many different types of vehicles. These vehicles include fuel cell cars, battery-powered electric vehicles, and electric hybrids. Turbocharger technology is being used by some manufacturers to provide backup power to electric vehicles in case a battery runs flat.

Turbocharger technology is evolving and helping manufacturers come up with innovative ways to help the environment.

If you are looking for turbochargers for sale, our Goldfarb and Associates, Inc. online inventory is a great place to start. We are a large diesel parts supplier and can help you with all your diesel engine needs.


Enhancing a vehicle's efficiency is crucial for reducing emissions and benefiting the environment. One quick and easy way to achieve this is by turbocharged diesel engines. This technology optimizes fuel usage, thereby minimizing emissions. Check out the following infographic for answers to common questions on turbocharging and how it can help you drive a fuel-efficient vehicle.

12 Common Questions About Turbo Green Technologies Infographic



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