Yesterday evening, Green Team Twente presented the world's newest fuel-efficient hydrogen car at Kolenaar Mazda in Enschede. Using hydrogen to fuel vehicles is slowly gaining traction. The team will also participate in the Shell Eco-Marathon in London in early July. The "Challenger event" on the Berghem circuit in May is also on the programme. All in all, a solid test both for the car and for the team.
Green Team Twente was unable to retain its title during the Shell Eco-Marathon last year and the team is keen on new success. "During construction this year, the focus was mainly on making our car even more reliable," says team manager Matthias Haalstra. "Unexpected problems occurred during the last race, which were caused by extreme heat and interference among other things. Green Team Twente was therefore unable to deliver any valid results in 2018, and we want to rectify that now. Where the previous team implemented many innovative concepts, we looked for weak links in our car and fixed them. We’re convinced we’re prepared for everything."
The heart of the car, its fuel cell, has been upgraded this year. This system turns hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, which is used by the electric motors and drives the wheels. "Compared to the old system, this new fuel cell is a lot more efficient and works better at higher temperatures," says hydrogen specialist Marieke Altena. "This fuel cell inspires extra confidence in the car’s performance during the race."
Of course, many other parts have also been upgraded. The gearbox has been completely redesigned, the cardan shaft has been made a lot lighter and the electronics have been adjusted to handle the radio waves and electromagnetic radiation in London.
In addition, this year the team has made a model that determines the optimum driving strategy. "This model allows us to determine exactly how fast we have to drive and how to take turns, everything to drive as efficiently as possible," says strategist and driver Yanna Kraakman.
Besides the final race, the Shell Eco-Marathon in London, the team will also participate in this year's so-called "Challenger event" in Berghem. Although this race is normally intended for teams that need to qualify for the final race, Green Team Twente will mainly use it as a test for both the car and the team. This will show them how the team works together under pressure and whether the car performs as expected.
In addition to all the technical components, this year the team has also started a project with the UT with the aim of building a testing ground with tiny houses on campus. Various sustainable technologies, including hydrogen, can be integrated and tested on this testing ground. This project would allow companies and research groups to develop their projects faster, so that they can enter the market immediately. The social aspect of living in such a house will also be examined to see what effect it has on residents and how a sustainable lifestyle can be encouraged.
Photo credit: Niek Erents