The world’s first hydrogen racecar apparently competes quite well with petrol-powered racecars.
Get yourself ready for the clean and quiet side of the auto-racing circuit. Instead of petroleum and the internal combustion engine, hydrogen is the fuel of choice for Forze, a hydrogen racing team from Nederlands-based Delft University of Technology.
According to the Forze blog, the team recently competed “…the first entry ever of a hydrogen fuel cell racing car in the Formula Student competition.” The race, part of the Silverstone circuit, featured the team’s hydrogen vehicle vying against approximately 100 petrol-powered cars.
“Between the loud sounds of roaring combustion engines, the clean and silent car had a successful debut,” writes the Forze blog. Interesting thinking about the future of auto racing sans the traditional roar of internal combustion engines.
The student team has experience with hydrogen racecars, having previously competed in a dedicated racing series. But this is the first year the team entered its Forze V in this particular competition where 132 teams from universities across the world entered. While most competitors entered combustion engine racers, there was an increased presence of battery-powered cars. Then, there was the Dutch car, which used a fuel cell. With this technology, hydrogen reacts with oxygen, producing electric current to power electric motors. On the green side of the equation, the only exhaust product is water.
Last Saturday, the teams debut of its fuel cell technology resulted in a tied-in-29th position. Not bad at all, considering this is a first. Since fuel cell technology is so new, the team is pleased with ending up high in the rankings.
The Forze V racing car uses a fuel cell to produce electricity to power two electric motors. The fuel cell gives out 18kW or 24 HP. When braking, the car uses the motors to regenerate and store energy. This allows for a temporary boost power of 60kW or 80 HP. The car reaches a top speed of 120 km/h (75mph) and accelerates from 0 to 96 km/h (0-60 mph) in under 5 seconds.
A full tank of 600 grams of gaseous hydrogen allows the car to race for about an hour at full speed. Quietly, of course.