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1. WO2020109458 - GÉNÉRATEUR À AIMANT PERMANENT COMPRENANT UN STATOR ARMÉ NON RÉGULIER

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

Description

PERMANENT MAGNET GENERATOR WITH NON-REGULAR ARMED STATOR

Technical field

[0001] The invention is directed to the field of electric machines, more particularly to electric machines with permanent magnets, even more particularly to permanent magnet synchronous machines. The invention is also directed to the stator of such machines.

Background art

[0002] Prior art patent document published DE 199 54 964 A1 discloses a hydraulic turbine generator. The generator is of a compact construction suitable to be mounted on a conduit for converting a flow of fluid in the conduit into electrical power. The generator comprises a turbine wheel and a rotor mounted on a shaft. The rotor is surrounded by a cylindrical wall delimiting a cavity for the rotor and the fluid. The rotor comprises permanent magnets and a stator is arranged around the wall. The stator comprises a first element made of ferromagnetic material with a base portion and a series of arms extending axially from the base portion along the outer surface of the wall, a second similar element with also a base portion and series of arms offset relative to those of the first element, and a coil arranged between the base portions of the first and second elements.

[0003] Prior art patent document published JPH 02197243 A discloses also a compact generator of a similar construction to the preceding document. The rotor shows permanent magnets which are however oriented S-N-S-... along the rotor periphery. Also, there is no wall separating the rotor and the stator because there is no working fluid, except air, circulating and in contact with the rotor.

[0004] Prior art patent document published EP 0 425 260 A1 discloses also a compact generator of a similar construction to the two preceding documents. It concerns a built-in generator arranged within a hub of a cycle wheel, including a hub member rotatably fitted on an axle which is to be fixed to a frame of the cycle, a stator composed of two poles armatures each with four arms, fixed to the axle in the hub member, a generating coil unit (held between the two four strip-shaped poles armatures of the stator) provided in the stationary hollow cylinder and fixed thereto, and a rotor formed integrally with a magnet rotatably provided on the axle.

[0005] Generally speaking, in permanent magnet electric generators, the rotor shows a cogging torque, i.e. a periodic oscillation torque, at rest, i.e. when the windings are not energized, where the magnetic field of the rotor tends to align with the magnetic poles of the stator. For many applications, that cogging torque is not an issue in that the drive torque on the rotor is large enough for overcoming that resistant torque. However for some applications where the drive torque is low, typically in fluid operated applications with low torque and high speed applications, the cogging torque can prevent the generator from rotating while a torque is applied thereto.

[0006] Chun-Yu Hsiao et al. in“A Novel Cogging Torque Simulation Method for Permanent-Magnet Synchronous Machines” (Energies 2011 , 4, 2166-2179; doi:10.3390/en4122166) addresses the problem of reducing the cogging torque in a permanent magnet synchronous machines, essentially by splitting the rotor into several segments and by angularly skewing these segments. If the case of a rotor with two segments, the skew angle is one half of the cogging torque period. This solution is however not quite easily applicable to very compact electric generators.

[0007] Similarly, Jong Gun Lee et al. in“Effects of the V-Skew on the Torque Characteristic in Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor”, Journal of International Conference on Electrical Machines and Systems Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 390-393, 2013, proposed a similar solution consisting essentially in providing a V-Skew of the permanent rotor. Similarly, to the above teaching, this solution is difficult to apply in very compact electric generators.

[0008] N. Levin et al. in“Methods to Reduce the Cogging Torque in Permanent Magnet Synchronous Machines”, ELEKTRONIKA IR ELEKTROTECHNIKA, ISSN 1392-1215, VOL. 19, NO. 1 , 2013, addresses also that problem by skewing stator slots. This however increases the complexity and manufacturing costs of the stator.

Summary of invention

Technical Problem

[0009] The invention has for technical problem to overcome at least one of the drawbacks of the above cited prior art. More specifically, the invention has for technical problem to provide a permanent magnet electric generator with a reduced cogging torque. Even more specifically, the invention has for technical problem to provide a permanent magnet electric generator with a reduced cogging torque that is compact and easy to manufacture. Also, the invention has for technical problem to optimize the efficiency of the generator defined by the ratio of the output electrical power over the input mechanical power.

Technical solution

[0010] The invention is directed to an electric generator comprising a rotor with permanent magnets, configured for rotating about a rotation axis; at least one magnetic yoke with arms extending axially inside or outside of the rotor so as to be adjacent to a radial inner or outer side, respectively, of the rotor; wherein the arms are circumferentially distributed so as to form a slot between each pair of adjacent arms, each slot and each arm showing a width; wherein the widths of the arms and/or the widths of the slots have different values distributed along the circumference.

[0011 ] The widths of the arms and/or the widths of the slots are average widths or taken in a same crossing plane perpendicular to the rotation axis if said widths vary axially. Alternatively, the widths of the arms and/or the widths of the slots can be constant axially.

[0012] According to a preferred embodiment, the width of the slots is constant along the circumference.

[0013] According to a preferred embodiment, the width of the arms increases progressively along the circumference. The increase extends advantageously over a complete revolution.

[0014] According to a preferred embodiment, the width of the arms increases linearly along the circumference. The increase extends advantageously over a complete revolution.

[0015] According to a preferred embodiment, the widths of the arms are distributed randomly along the circumference. The distribution is advantageously over a complete revolution.

[0016] According to a preferred embodiment, each arm extends angularly over a

(Q)

sector 0£ = - + ί. άq where / is an integer comprised between 1 and A/; N being the number of arms and (Q) being an average sector angle of the N arms.

[0017] According to a preferred embodiment, for each next arm along the circumference / is incremented by 1.

[0018] According to a preferred embodiment, for each next arm along the

circumference / is taken from a random permutation of the integers from 1 to N. N is any value that is an even number corresponding to the total number of arms that is equal to or higher than 4.

[0019] According to a preferred embodiment, the random permutation of the integers from 1 to N where N=16 is one of the following: [10, 15, 6, 12, 1 1 , 8, 14, 7, 16, 13, 9, 1 , 5, 4, 2, 3], [14, 11 , 8, 5, 3, 1 , 9, 2, 6, 15, 4, 12, 13, 16,

7, 10] and [9, 14, 10, 16, 12, 3, 4, 5, 11 , 1 , 2, 6, 7, 8, 15, 13]

[0020] According to a preferred embodiment, the at least one yoke comprises several yokes, the arms of said yokes repeatedly alternating along the circumference.

[0021 ] According to a preferred embodiment, each of the at least one yoke comprises a central portion interconnecting the arms of said yoke.

[0022] According to a preferred embodiment, each of the arms comprises a bent end portion fixed to the central portion.

[0023] According to a preferred embodiment, the electric generator further comprises an electric coil arranged between the central portions of the yokes.

[0024] According to a preferred embodiment, the electric generator further comprises a turbine wheel mechanically coupled to the rotor.

[0025] According to a preferred embodiment, the electric generator further comprises a shaft supporting the rotor and the turbine wheel, and bearings at each end of the shaft.

[0026] According to a preferred embodiment, the turbine wheel is an axial turbine wheel comprising blades extending radially and configured for being converting an annular axial flow through said blades into a rotational movement of said turbine wheel and the rotor.

[0027] The invention is also directed to a valve for gas cylinder, comprising a body with an inlet, an outlet and a passage interconnecting said inlet and outlet; a flow control device mounted on the body and controlling the flow of gas in the passage; wherein the valve further comprises an electric generator with a turbine wheel located in the passage, configured for outputting electric power when the gas flow in the passage rotates the turbine wheel, wherein the electric generator is according to the invention.

[0028] The turbine wheel located can be located upstream or downstream of the flow control device.

[0029] The invention is also directed to a conduit with a wall delimiting a passage for a fluid and with an electric generator with a turbine wheel located in the passage so as to be driven when the fluid flows, wherein said generator is according to the invention.

[0030] The invention is also directed to a use of an electric generator with a turbine wheel in a conduit for producing electricity while the fluid flows in said conduit, wherein said generator is according to the invention.

[0031] The invention is also directed to a method for dimensioning an electric generator comprising a rotor with permanent magnets, configured for rotating about a rotation axis; at least one magnetic yoke with arms extending axially inside or outside of the rotor so as to be adjacent to a radial inner or outer side, respectively, of the rotor; and wherein the arms are circumferentially distributed so as to form a slot between each pair of adjacent arms, each slot and each arm showing a width; comprising a step of dimensioning the widths of the arms and/or the widths of the slots with different values distributed along the circumference so as to lower a cogging torque on the rotor.

[0032] According to a preferred embodiment, lowering a cogging torque on the rotor is relative to a configuration where the widths of the arms and the widths of the slots are constant along the circumference.

Advantages of the invention

[0033] The invention is particularly interesting in that reduces the cogging torque of the electric generator. The cogging torque in an electric machine, for

instance a generator, comprising permanent magnets on the rotor is the natural consequence of the stator which shows a circumferentially non constant magnetic permeability. Each permanent magnets is subject to an attraction force with the ferromagnetic arms of the stator. A regular distribution of these arms, as this is usual, has for effect that these forces are maximum for several, if not all, of the permanent magnets, leading to a potentially high cogging torque. Such a cogging torque is not particularly problematic for applications where the drive torque is comparatively high, e.g. in a bicycle dynamo. However for application with a very low drive torque, this can be problematic. The irregular distribution according to the invention is particular interesting because it significantly decreases the cogging torque and allows therefore rotation of the generator even with very low drive torques, e.g. a flow of fluid, like gas, on a turbine wheel, while delivering optimized electrical power levels.

Brief description of the drawings

[0034] Figure 1 is a top view and a perspective view of an electric generator according to the prior art.

[0035] Figure 2 illustrates in bottom view the slot distribution of the stator of the electric generator of figure 1.

[0036] Figure 3 is a graph of the output power over time of the electric generator of figure 1.

[0037] Figure 4 is a graph of the dynamic torque output over time of the electric generator of figure 1.

[0038] Figure 5 is a graph of the cogging torque over time of the electric generator of figure 1.

[0039] Figure 6 is a comparative table of the magnetic flux amplitude through the coil 12, the output electrical power, the dynamic torque, the cogging torque, and the mechanical to electrical conversion efficiency for different values of the radial air gap e between the rotor and the stator.

[0040] Figure 7 is a top view and a perspective view of an electric generator according to first embodiment of the invention.

[0041 ] Figure 8 illustrates the bottom view of the slot distribution of the stator of the electric generator of figure 7.

[0042] Figure 9 illustrates the increment distribution of the stator of the electric generator of figure 7.

[0043] Figure 10 is a graph of the output power over time of the electric generator of figure 7.

[0044] Figure 1 1 is a graph of the dynamic torque over time of the electric generator of figure 7.

[0045] Figure 12 is a graph of the cogging torque over time of the electric generator of figure 7.

[0046] Figure 13 is a perspective view and a top view of an electric generator according to second embodiment of the invention.

[0047] Figure 14 illustrates the increment distribution of the stator of the electric generator of figure 13.

[0048] Figure 15 is a graph of the output power over time of the electric generator of figure 13.

[0049] Figure 16 is a graph of the dynamic torque over time of the electric generator of figure 13.

[0050] Figure 17 is a graph of the cogging torque over time of the electric generator of figure 13.

[0051 ] Figure 18 is a perspective view and a top view of an electric generator according to third embodiment of the invention.

[0052] Figure 19 illustrates the increment distribution of the stator of the electric generator of figure 18.

[0053] Figure 20 is a graph of the output power over time of the electric generator of figure 18.

[0054] Figure 21 is a graph of the dynamic torque over time of the electric generator of figure 18.

[0055] Figure 22 is a graph of the cogging torque over time of the electric generator of figure 18.

[0056] Figure 23 is a top view and a perspective view of an electric generator according to fourth embodiment of the invention.

[0057] Figure 24 illustrates the increment distribution of the stator of the electric generator of figure 23.

[0058] Figure 25 is a graph of the output power over time of the electric generator of figure 23.

[0059] Figure 26 is a graph of the dynamic torque overtime of the electric generator of figure 23.

[0060] Figure 27 is a graph of the cogging torque over time of the electric generator of figure 23.

[0061] Figure 28 is a graph of the cogging torques over time of the different electric generators of figures 1 , 7, 13, 18 and 23.

[0062] Figure 29 is a graph of the cogging torques over time of the different electric generators of figures 1 , 7, 13, 18 and 23.

[0063] Figure 30 is a comparative table of the magnetic flux amplitude through the coil, the output electrical power, the stator/rotor correlation factor, the dynamic torque, cogging torque, and the mechanical to electrical conversion efficiency for the different electric generators of figures 1 , 7, 13, 18 and 23.

[0064] Figure 31 is a schematic sectional view of a valve into which an electric generator according to the invention is integrated.

Description of an embodiment

[0065] Figures 1 to 6 illustrate the construction and characteristics of an electric generator according to the state of the art.

[0066] Figure 1 comprises a top view and a perspective view of an electric generator according the state of the art. The electric generator 2 comprises essentially a stator 4 and a rotor 6. The stator 4 comprises a series of arms 8.1 and 10.1 made of magnetic material. They are arranged circumferentially and essentially parallel to each other. The stator 4 comprises also a coil 12 magnetically coupled to the arms 8.1 and 10.1. The rotor 6 comprises a series of permanent magnets arranged along its

circumference so as to, upon rotation, produce a variable magnetic field in the arms of the stator 4.

[0067] For instance, the rotor 6 is located inside the stator 4 and is configured for producing the magnetic field predominantly at its outer periphery. For instance it can comprise a series of permanent magnets in a standard alternation of North-South pole pairs along the periphery, or in a Flalbach arrangement of North-Rotation 90°-South-Rotation 90° poles.

[0068] For instance, the stator 4 comprises two yokes 8 and 10 which are superposed and interdig itated. Each yoke 8 and 10 comprises a series of arms 8.1 and 10.1 extending essentially axially from a central portion 8.2 and 10.2, respectively. The coil 12 is sandwiched between the central portions 8.2 and 10.2 of the yokes 8 and 10. The central portions 8.2 and 10.2 extend through the coil 12 , said coil 12 comprising a winding around said portions.

[0069] In the example of figure 1 , each yoke comprises 8 arms, resulting in 16 arms in total. Each arm is distant from each directly adjacent arms so as to form slots. The rotor 6 comprises 16 magnets forming 8 pole pairs.

[0070] Figure 2 illustrates in a schematic manner in bottom view the arm and slot distribution of the stator of the electric generator of figure 1 . We can observe the interdig itated arms 8.1 and 10.1 arranged circumferentially and in an alternating manner. Each arm 8.1 and 10.1 extends circumferentially over an angle 0, . They also show a circumferential air gap w. A radial air gap e is provided between the rotor 6 and the stator 4. As this is apparent, the distribution of the arms is regular, i.e. the angle 0, is the same for each arm and the circumferentially air gap w is also constant.

[0071 ] For the purpose of studying and characterizing, in the following embodiments of the invention, a non-homogeneous distribution of the arms, we define the angular value 0, of each arm as follows:


where / is an integer incremental value from 1 to N, (Q) is an average value of the angle of the arm and άq is an incremental angle value, and

2 p - N.a ...

(q) = - , with

' ' N

w

a =

R stator

with Rstator the radius of the stator 4.

[0072] For the total number of sectors N,


so that the incremental angle value is

N

p - .a

άq = 2

N.(N + 1)

2

[0073] For N=16 sectors and arms, the incremental angle value is


136 17

and the angle of each arm is


[0074] For a homogeneous distribution as in figure 2, the above incremental calculation does not apply and the constant angular value of the arms is


For a stator radius Rstator =8.55 mm and a circumferential air gap vv= 1 mm, cr= 0.117 radian = 6.7°.

[0075] Still with reference to figures 1 and 2, the stator 4 forms an alternating arrangement of air gap, i.e. air, and magnetic material, i.e. an arm. Similarly, the rotor 6 produces in this alternating arrangement of air gap and magnetic material of the stator 4 a magnetic field that shows an alternating arrangement of positive and negative values passing by zero. While rotating relative to the stator, the rotor produces then in the magnetic material of each arm a variable magnetic field, thanks to the magnetic permeability of said material. This variable magnetic field is transmitted along each arm 8.1 and 10.1 to the central portions 8.2 and 10.2 of the yokes 8 and 10, and magnetizes the coil 12. The latter is therefore traversed by an alternating magnetic field which induces an electromotive force producing an electrical voltage. Since the number of poles is equal to the number of arms and since the poles and arms are distributed homogeneously and regularly, the degree of correlation between the magnetic field produced by the rotor and the arms is the same in each arm, irrespective of the angular position between the rotor and the stator, being however clear that the correlation is maximum when the poles of the rotor are angularly aligned with the arms and minimum when intermediates position between each pair of poles (where the magnetic field is null) are angularly aligned with the arms. The degree of correlation has a direct influence on the specific power output the generator.

[0076] Figures 3 to 5 are graphs illustrating calculated values of the output electrical power, the dynamic torque and the cogging torque of the generator of figures 1 and 2. The dynamic torque represents the cumulate contributions of the cogging torque and the braking torque due to the eddy currents contribution. This braking torque increases with angular speed. As the angular speed increases, the magnetic flux generated by the eddy currents increases, which causes the net magnetic flux to decrease with speed. The calculation is based on a model using a Finite Element Analysis software (COMSOL). For instance, the rotation speed is of 3780 rpm. The stator material is composed of a soft magnetic material of NiFe alloy with a conductivity of o=1.227*10+6 S/m and a permeability of 1800. The copper coil sandwiched by the two parts of the stator presents an inductance of 26.5 mFI for a DC resistance of 1.31 ohm. A resistive load of 20 ohms is connected on the coils to measure the electrical outputs (voltages, electrical power). The cogging torque is calculated in the static regime for the angular p position of the rotor against the stator slots for a range of 2.(eiregular + a)

4 radians.

[0077] Figure 6 is a table summarizing the obtained values for these magnetic and mechanical outputs (first column for Reference Model 1 ). One possibility investigated to lower the values of the peak-to-peak dynamic (and also cogging) torque is to increase the air gap distance“e” between the outer part of the magnetic rotor and the inner part of the stator. Although this will increase the total diameter of the stator and therefore the dimensions of the generator, we obtain for higher value of e (1.5 mm and 2.5 mm, as Reference Models 2 and 3) lower values of the peak-to-peak dynamic torque (respectively 0.404 and 0.039 mN.m, instead of 1.55 mN.m for Reference Model 1 ). However we can note a strong decreasing of the output electrical power of the generator (down to 11.4 mW for e=2.5mm). The last line of the table gives an estimation of the efficiency of the generator by the ratio of the output electrical power over the input mechanical power.

[0078] The above discussed degree of correlation between the magnetic field produced by the rotor and the arms of the stator shows a maximum value of 0.7.

[0079] According to the invention, the distribution of the angular width of the arms and/or slots can be varied so as to be non-homogeneous, for modifying in an advantageous manner the dynamic torque and/or the cogging torque. In the remaining figures, from figure 6 onwards, three variable steps generators will be presented in details, forming embodiments of the invention.

[0080] Figures 7 to 12 illustrate a first embodiment of the invention, based on the above described generator where the angular width of the arms is linearly incremented. The reference numbers of figures 1 -6 are used here for designating the same or corresponding elements, these numbers being however incremented by 100. It is also referred to the description of these elements.

[0081] In figures 7 and 8, we can observe that the angular width of the arms 108.1 and 110.1 progressively increases, more particularly in figure 8 when starting from the arm 108.1 located at the top of the drawing and going

clockwise. The rotor 106 remains unchanged compared with figures 1 and 2.

[0082] Figure 9 illustrates the increment for the 2nd to 16th arms in the following equation already presented in relation with figure 2:


[0083] The degree of correlation between the magnetic field produced by the rotor and the arms shows a maximum value of 0.35.

[0084] Figures 10 to 12 are graphs illustrating calculated values of the output electrical power, the dynamic torque and the cogging torque of the generator of figures 7 to 9. They show a substantial decrease of the cogging torque. They show also a decrease of the dynamic torque compared to reference models 1 and 2 of figures 1 -6 (see figure 6), but also a decreasing of the efficiency G=5.72%, i.e. the ratio of electrical output power over input mechanical power. Compared to the Reference model 3, the linear increment model provides more output electrical power by a factor two, but here also with a lower efficiency G.

[0085] Figures 13 to 17 illustrate a second embodiment of the invention, based on the above generator of figures 1 to 6 where the angular width of the arms is randomly incremented. The reference numbers of figures 1 -6 are used here for designating the same or corresponding elements, these numbers being however incremented by 200. It is also referred to the description of these elements.

[0086] As this is apparent in figure 14, the increment / for the N=16 sectors, in the following equation already presented in relation with figure 2:


is randomly distributed (random distribution R02).

[0087] The degree of correlation between the magnetic field produced by the rotor and the arms shows a maximum value of 0.43.

[0088] Figures 15 to 17 are graphs illustrating calculated values of the output electrical power, the dynamic torque and the cogging torque of the generator of figures 13 and 14. We can observe that the cogging torque is further reduced compared with the first embodiment of figures 7 to 12 (see in particular figure 12). The peak-to-peak dynamic torque is lowered to 0.085 mN.m for an output electrical power of 33 mW. These results shows a better and excellent efficiency of G=24.52 % compared to the linear increment model with G=5.72 %.

[0089] Figures 18 to 22 illustrate a third embodiment of the invention, based on the above generator of figures 1 to 6 where the angular width of the arms is randomly incremented. The reference numbers of figures 1 -6 are used here for designating the same or corresponding elements, these numbers being however incremented by 300. It is also referred to the description of these elements.

[0090] This third embodiment is another random distribution (random distribution R05) of the increment / for the N=16 sectors, in the following equation already presented in relation with figure 2:


similarly to the second embodiment.

[0091] The degree of correlation between the magnetic field produced by the rotor and the arms shows a maximum value of 0.39.

[0092] Figures 20 to 22 are graphs illustrating calculated values of the output electrical power, the dynamic torque and the cogging torque of the generator of figures 18 and 19.

[0093] Figures 23 to 27 illustrate a fourth embodiment of the invention, based on the above generator of figures 1 to 6 where the angular width of the arms is randomly incremented. The reference numbers of figures 1 -6 are used here for designating the same or corresponding elements, these numbers being however incremented by 400. It is also referred to the description of these elements.

[0094] This fourth embodiment is a further random distribution (random distribution R06) of the increment / for the N=16 sectors with regard to the second and third embodiments.

[0095] The degree of correlation between the magnetic field produced by the rotor and the arms shows a maximum value of 0.37.

[0096] Figures 25 to 27 are graphs illustrating calculated values of the output electrical power, the dynamic torque and the cogging torque of the generator of figures 23 and 24.

[0097] Figures 28 to 30 summarize the above described electric generators by providing comparative graphs of their cogging torques and of their dynamic torques, and a comparative table of the output power, the correlation factor, the cogging torque, the dynamic torque and the efficiency.

[0098] In figure 28, we observe that the linear increment and each of the three examples of random generated sequences (R02, R05 and R06) achieves a substantially lower peak-to-peak cogging torque modulation compared with the reference model (i.e. with a constant arm width). Similarly, in figure 29, we observe that the linear increment and each of the three examples of random generated sequences (R02, R05 and R06) achieves a substantially lower peak-to-peak dynamic torque modulation. In figure 30 we observe that the efficiencies of the electric generators remains of the same order for linear increment compared with the reference model, whereas it shows a clear increase for each of the although the output electrical power level is higher, meaning that the three examples of random generated sequences (R02, R05 and R06), more particularly for the R02.

[0099] More generally, the above four embodiments of the invention show that in an electrical generator with an armed stator providing a non-uniform distribution of the arms decreases the cogging torque. Providing a random distribution of the arm width not only decreases the cogging torque but also increases the efficiency.

[00100] Figure 31 is a schematic sectional representation of an electric generator according to the invention coupled to a turbine wheel and integrated into or mounted on a valve or conduit. In that figure, the reference numbers of the first embodiment (figures 7-12) are used. Specific reference numbers comprises between 100 and 200 are used for designating specific elements. It is however understood that this integration into a valve or conduit applies also to the other embodiments of the electric generator. The rotor 106 of the electric generator 102 comprises a shaft 114 which is coupled to a turbine wheel 116.

[00101 ] The valve 1 18 comprises a body 120 with a gas passage 122 interconnecting a gas inlet 124 with a gas outlet 126 on said body. The valve comprises a pressure reducer 128 that comprises a shutter 128.1 cooperating with a seat 128.2 where both are arranged in the gas passage 122 for shutting-off said passage. The pressure reducer 128 comprises also a piston 128.3 mechanically linked to the shutter 128.1 and slidable in a bore formed in the body 120. The piston 128.3 delimits with the bore in the body 120 a regulating chamber 128.4 that is downstream of the shutter 128.1 and its seat 128.2, and in a chamber 128.5 housing a spring 128.6 that elastically biases the piston 128.3 in a direction that acts on the shutter 128.1 so as to open the gas passage 122 in the seat 128.2. A device 128.7 for adjusting the pre-constraint of the spring 128.6 can be provided. The construction of the regulating valve described here above is as such well known to the skilled person.

[00102] The electric generator 102 and the turbine wheel 1 16 are located in the high pressure part of the gas passage 122, i.e. upstream of the shutter 128.1 and the seat 128.2. As this is apparent, a cavity, such as a bore, has been formed in the body for receiving the rotor assembly of the generator, i.e. essentially the shaft 1 14 carrying the turbine wheel 1 16 and the rotor 106. A first bearing 130 is formed in the body for supporting the inner end of the shaft 1 14. The cavity in the body 120 is closed in a gas tight fashion by the plug 132 that forms a second bearing for the outer end of the shaft 1 14. The yokes 108 and 1 10 of the stator 104 are inserted into holes or longitudinal cavities formed in the body 120 at the periphery of the cavity housing the rotor 106. The coil 1 12 of the stator 104 is then outside of the gas passage 122 of the valve and can be easily connected to any kind of electric or electronic device associated with the valve 1 18.

[00103] Still with reference to figure 31 , the turbine wheel 1 16 is located in the gas passage 124 such as to be driven by the flow of gas in said passage when the regulator 128 is open. More specifically, flow guiding means 134 can be provided in the passage directly upstream of the turbine wheel 1 16 in order to accelerate the fluid properly with regard to the design of the turbine wheel 1 16 so as to maximize the transfer of energy to said wheel.

[00104] Alternatively, the turbine wheel 116 can also be arranged on the low pressure side of the valve 118, i.e. downstream of the shutter 128.1 and the seat 128.2 of the pressure regulator 128.