Lei Chen

Former Research Engineer, Industry Development

I’m a research engineer leading turbine development for HERA’s AGGAT R&D programme in Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) clean energy technology.

Since completing my PhD studies in 2007, I’ve been focused on turbine design and performance optimisation, and most recently in aerodynamic design & optimisation and stress & rotor dynamics analysis of radial inflow and axial turbines.

The first turbine project of its kinds in New Zealand – we’re working on the design of a small scale radial inflow turbine in an ORC system to achieve our goal of producing power from untapped geothermal resources and industrial waste heat.

Currently I’ve successfully carried out 3D geometry of small scale radial inflow turbines – adopting a scalloped rotor design and balance piston on the shaft to reduce thrust loads and match magnetic bearings.  Similar work on the generator casing, cooling pathway, and mechanical drawings of turbo-generator integration has led to a more compact and efficient energy conversion system.

Using the Finite Element Method to conduct stress analysis and confirm turbine blade and casing safety during operation, we’ve evaluated dynamic stability and minimised vibration with the aim to manufacture and test a finished prototype at the end of 2016 in collaboration with our project partners.

It’s wonderful to work at HERA with a fantastic team who’s focused on developing clean power generation for the better of the environment.

Articles for Lei