My name is Thijmen Overkamp. I am a third-year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Twente. This year, alongside my studies, I have been very active with Green Team Twente. We are building a hydrogen car to participate in sustainability competitions. Because the vehicle has to be extremely efficient there are a lot of fun challenges at a mechanical level. It has kept me pretty busy.
I mainly work on the suspension and the steering, but there are other parts that sometimes also need attention. We do the whole process ourselves, from first designs to production and assembly. The Green Team Twente activities have really added a lot to my experience here. When you are studying, you cover a section of theory and there is a central application, but with the car everything comes together and the theory really is a tool for getting a good result in real life. The practicalities of designing are much more challenging if your design also has to be manufactured and put to use.
It is also very much about working with the available resources, like time, tools, materials and money. There is a lot of collaboration with companies – all very diverse in terms of the people, fields of expertise, skills and time investment they put forward. You gain a lot of surprising insights, but it is also a challenge, certainly in terms of management.
In order to be committed to the team I have to dedicate all the time I have, whilst at the same time doing all my third-year subjects and projects and holding some side jobs and a volunteer position. I have had to give up certain things. But I would never have wanted to miss this incredible technological learning experience.