Assen, Sunday 19 August – TU Delft Student Team Forze has completed a world’s first full race with their newest generation hydrogen powered race car. The team came in 6th after a grueling 60 minute race during the Supercar Challenge on Saturday 18 August. During the race, the Forze Team set their fuel cell powered vehicle against a field of conventionally powered gasoline cars.
The sustainable Forze vehicle had to prove itself amongst gasoline powered cars. At the beginning of the year, this seemed a daunting task, but in part due to a completely new bodywork, as well as improved hydrogen storage capacity, racing on Saturday went better than the student team could have hoped. The original goal was only to complete the 45 minute race on Sunday, so to finish the longer 60 minute Saturday race was an unexpected achievement.
Aiming for More
The team was unbelievably happy with the 60 minute performance on Saturday, but wanted more from their machine. Sunday was set to be the final battle for a win. Unfortunately, this did not go as planned. Just before start, the team experienced an unexpected problem which prevented the vehicle from starting the race.
Despite Sunday’s misfortune, the team is very proud of Saturday’s performance. The 18 member full-time team labored the entire year to make this race weekend a reality. Team Manager Gijs Vermeij on this weekend’s events: “The real achievement of this weekend is that for the first time in automotive history, a hydrogen powered car completed a full 60 minute official race against conventionally fuelled cars. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t also work on Sunday, as our hydrogen technology was ready for the challenge. The part that failed was a component of the front suspension that was outsourced and was made externally. The part was no longer within our strict safety parameters, so we had to make the difficult but necessary decision to not participate in the race on Sunday. It’s really unfortunate, but that’s just part of the sport of racing!”
The goal for this year was to prove that racing a full race on hydrogen power was possible, and that goal was achieved. A result like this gives the team confidence, and the coming year will see even more work put into the car. “Advancements in hydrogen fuel cell technology occur at such a rapid pace that it can’t be long until we are standing on the podium. We have shown this Saturday that we have taken big steps in terms of longevity and range, which gives hope for the future” says Vermeij.
A hydrogen powered vehicle generates electricity in its fuel cell using hydrogen from the tanks and oxygen taken from the surrounding air. This electricity is then used to power electric motors. The only exhaust from the vehicle is pure water. Hydrogen can be produced using electrolysis, which requires energy. It is therefore important for said electricity to be sourced sustainably in order for hydrogen fuel cells to truly be considered a renewable fuel source.
Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing
The Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing Team was founded in 2007, and since then has produced eight hydrogen powered race vehicles. The first five vehicles were smaller scale, compact go-karts that participated in student competitions throughout Europe. From their humble beginnings, the Forze VIII has grown to a full-size, full capability race car. Other than the historic race of Saturday, Forze’s most current flagship vehicle also broke the lap time record for vehicles in its class on the Circuit of Zandvoort by setting a time of 1:56.968.
Header image by Worcflow