REVISED... with help from our friends at Western Turbo.
What is a Turbocharger?
A turbocharger, more commonly known as a turbo. is a turbine-driven forced induction device that increases an internal combustion engine's efficiency and power output by forcing extra air into the combustion chamber. This increases the performance of your heavy-duty vehicle.
The purpose of a turbocharger is to improve an engine's efficiency by increasing the density of the intake gas (usually air), allowing more power per engine cycle.
The turbocharger compresses the air changing kinetic energy into pressure as it moves across the diffuser. To condense a gas is to initiate a change of state through pressure, think steam into water.
A turbocharger can also help increase fuel efficiency without increasing power. This happens when waste energy in the exhaust is fed back into the engine intake. Using this otherwise wasted energy to increase the mass of air, it becomes easier to ensure that all fuel is burned before being vented at the start of the exhaust stage.