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by Siemens Digital Industry Software
Startups: Digitalization to Realization

Beyond the Horizon: The Future of Gas Turbines with Sierra Turbines


When it comes to getting an aircraft off the ground, it’s no longer a question of “if” it will fly. We’ve moved into the era of “how”- and the emphasis today is on efficiency. This encompasses energy consumption, endurance, speed, and overall performance. Today, we’re looking into the future of turbine engines and exploring what lies just beyond the horizon of existing technology. We’re looking towards what’s next. 

Today, I’m talking to Roger Smith and David Laudermilch of Sierra Turbines. Roger started as a software engineer for Apple nearly 20 years ago, and today, he’s the CEO of this innovative California company. David is a Design Engineer with previous experience working with companies like Saab and Rolls Royce. Together, they’ve taken their experience working for industry leaders in software and transportation and turned towards the production of gas microturbines. 

In this episode, you’ll hear how each of their rather unique career trajectories eventually led them to this Silicon Valley startup. We’ll talk about the early challenges of getting a microturbine company off the ground, the technologies that merge in order to create their products, and the interesting work they're doing in collaboration with NASA. 

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What makes your turbines unique? (4:07)
  • What are the advantages of using additive for your microturbines? (5:16)
  • What challenges did you face in the early stages of developing Sierra Turbines? (8:40)
  • What drew you to Siemens and why do you prefer NX? (15:22)
  • What's the first commercial application that you see? (21:17)

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • How Sierra Turbines began (2:59)
  • The link between microturbines and outer space (6:06)
  • Preparing for the validation process (13:45)
  • What’s on the horizon Sierra Turbines (19:21)
  • Preparing for a zero-emissions future (23:50)


Sierra Turbines

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Episode 11

by Siemens Digital Industry Software