Interview: “The Co-Located CFD Software Helps us Optimize the Race car’s Bodywork”

Interview: "The Co-Located CFD Software Helps us Optimize the Race Car's Bodywork"

Forze Hydrogen Racing is one of only two hydrogen racing teams worldwide. The team has now migrated its IT infrastructure from an on-premises environment at the Delft university campus to Greenhouse Datacenters’ colocation data center at a distance of about 20 kilometers. Martijn Loonen, Chief Aerodynamics at Forze Hydrogen Racing, shows us the value of the IT infrastructure for the team and his considerations for migrating the IT infrastructure.

“Due to a restructuring of university campus buildings, we had to search for a good alternative to locate our server and storage infrastructure. So, we were actually forced to move our IT infrastructure to another location,” says Martijn Loonen. “As the Forze team is highly motivated to make a hydrogen-based sustainable contribution to society, we expressed our preference for a professional colocation partner with sustainable operations. Preferably not too far from the Delft university campus. Greenhouse Datacenters has managed to achieve an ultra-low Power Usage Effectiveness of 1.15 for its colocation facilities in Naaldwijk, the Netherlands, which is a very energy efficient figure thus a great match with our team. Still, in the Rotterdam/The Hague area, only 20 kilometers away from our previous location.”

What is the value of hydrogen within our society as a whole, with respect to automotive and other use cases?

“A key advantage of hydrogen is its use for long-range operations. The fact that you can refuel quickly without having to wait for a charging station, that is certainly an advantage from the user’s perspective. It can be used in mobility, for example, but it is already bringing added value to companies within the process industry as well. Next to that, hydrogen as an energy source is also very interesting for heavy duty tasks, such as with large freight containers, e.g. for loading and unloading.”

“Long distance and heavy duty, that’s where the initial value add for hydrogen lies. By implementing hydrogen in a racing car and achieving tremendous racing results, we are showing that if it can be done here, it can be done elsewhere too. This way, we hope to contribute to the continuation of the hydrogen revolution.”

The Forze Hydrogen Racing team consists of students from the Delft University of Technology. What drives your team?

“Our hydrogen racing team operates in changing composition while this year it has 26 full time student members. These core team members take a gap year, often between bachelor and master. To dedicate a full year to the racing team. The full team consists of over 60 students. So, we also have many part-timers who do projects for 1 or 2 days a week, to make that hydrogen racing car run as optimally as possible.”

“Above all, it’s a very cool project. We all want to do something with sustainability. It is also a technically complex project and it’s great to be able to use the technical knowledge from our studies in such a practical way. So, it’s a really good learning experience.”

What infrastructure and applications did you have to migrate from Delft University campus to Greenhouse Datacenter’s flagship data center 20 kilometers away?

“An important part of Forze’s IT infrastructure is our Network Attached Storage platform. It contains a large number of hard disk drives which are used for extensive data storage purposes. We have also transferred quite some servers from the previous data center environment to Greenhouse. We use those servers for sheer computing power. What’s basically important to us is the number of processors and the amount of working memory. It’s just a lot of processing power that we need for our hydrogen racing efforts and optimization of our achievements.”

How does this IT infrastructure in Greenhouse’s flagship data center contribute to Forze’s results oin the racetracks in Europe?

“The computing power generated by this IT infrastructure in Greenhouse’s colocation data center is critical to the functioning of the Forze racing team. It especially plays an important role in the continuous improvement of efficiencies in the aerodynamics of our hydrogen powered racing car. These aerodynamics are not that different from electric or gasoline, although with hydrogen we do need to pay a bit more attention to cooling as compared to gasoline cars. You need to know how much air for the cooling goes through the radiators. This can be calculated and adjusted based on the simulations we do.”

So, the IT infrastructure co-located in the Greenhouse datacener is being used for aerodynamics simulations?

“Mainly, yes. We use the IT infrastructure at Greenhouse for our computational fluid dynamics software platform. It’s a powerful engineering simulation tool to make complex calculations and figure out how to further improve the aerodynamics of the racecar’s bodywork. It allows us to optimize the bodywork around the hydrogen engine so that more air can fly through the radiators. You can combine these simulations with wind tunnel simulations, but unfortunately we don’t have the budget for that. So, next to the qualities of our hydrogen engine and race drivers and so on, the open source based CFD software we use really helps us stand out from the competition.”

How exactly does it work, the use of CFD software?

“The aerodynamics of the hydrogen racing car are optimized by running simulations over and over again. The CFD software allows us to run a simulation after we have made only one isolated adjustment to the car. During those runs we perform, the machines run at full power. So, we need a lot of computing power for the CFD because we always want to adjust only one thing to the car. It’s usually a lot of differential equations that need to be solved and it takes immense computing power to work that out. The server infrastructure acts as a sort of supercomputer. We have one node steering these differential equations after which it is distributed among several other servers.”

“If there is no simulation running, it’s actually a set of idle servers using virtually no power. As soon as a simulation is turned on, they go full compute. Then the power consumption also goes up accordingly.”

“All the results in terms of data are stored on the NAS. In addition, a lot of marketing material is stored on the NAS too – actually, a lot of videos and photos that we have collected in the thirteen years of our team’s existence.”

All Forze server and storage systems are now co-located with Greenhouse. What’s your impression with Greenhouse as an engineering expert yourself?

“When first visiting the Greenhouse flagship facility in Naaldwijk, I was impressed. The Greenhouse data center offers us a very professional colocation environment. It’s a strong improvement over our previous situation. Our rack environment was slightly different from the new deployment at Greenhouse. So, we had to make some adjustments, but with the help of the Greenhouse engineers it was all transferred within a day. Their engineers were a great help. It’s also nice to be able to fall back on experts with knowledge of the subject when you can’t work it out yourself.”

Are there any specific Greenhouse data center characteristics that resonate with you?

“The airflow patterns in the colocation racks at Greenhouse are thoughtfully arranged. Efficiencies like these allow us to better and faster conduct the CFD iterations of modeling, simulation and modification. The accessibility of their data centers also fits our needs. As we’re students, we don’t always do our work at logical times. With 24/7 access, we can even go there late at night. Although we have a remote setup, it’s great that we can visit the data center when we need to. I know that Greenhouse has ample connectivity options available, but for our use case connectivity doesn’t play that big a role. Security does, and it’s good to know that the stored data from our team and our partners is safe with Greenhouse.”

To conclude, what goals has the Forze Hydrogen Racing Team set for itself for the coming years.

“We have achieved great things with the Forze VIII car, but we expect to launch an even faster hydrogen powered car this summer. After two years of thorough engineering work, our team until now has managed to achieve the following specs: acceleration 0 – 100: < 3 seconds; top speed: 300km/h; fuel cell power: 240 kW (327 hp); maximum boost power: 600 kW (805 hp) and all-wheel drive. The new car weighs 1500kg, and has a size of 519x 190 cm.
With the new racecar, Forze IX, we expect to be able to achieve podiums and wins in higher classes as well.”

“As a team, we’re aiming at participating in the GT Class of the Dutch Supercar Challenge. We’ll be up against the fastest cars then including Porsches and Lamborghini’s.”

“For the long term, we also hope to enter long range races – as this seamlessly fits the key capabilities of hydrogen in general. As said, the advantage of hydrogen is long range. With an 8-kilogram tank of hydrogen you can drive up and down to Paris in France from Delft in the Netherlands. One tank of hydrogen can really take you a long way. For endurance racing, hydrogen would therefore also be optimal. Especially if you compare it to Formula E, where cars have to be swapped halfway through the race. With hydrogen you don’t have that issue and you get much further. For these ambitions, further development of our Forze racecar is crucial and we’re glad that we found such a solid data center partner for our IT infrastructure and applications.”

About Greenhouse Datacenters

Founded in 2013, Greenhouse Datacenters offers two colocation data centers in Naaldwijk, the Netherlands, in the Rotterdam/The Hague area. Its data centers feature an energy efficient Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) value of 1.15. The facilities are 3rd party accredited and certified for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS. These data centers provide ample connectivity options via more than 10 carriers – with cloud on-ramps, ultra-low latency connections to Amsterdam, and access to European Internet exchanges.

To learn more about Greenhouse Datacenters, visit: https://www.greenhousedatacenters.nl/en.

Written by Koen Stegeman

Published: the 8th of June, 2021, 13:30

Tech Talk: the Ejector

Tech Talk: the Ejector

In the Forze IX custom balance of plant – the umbrella term for all systems conditioning the various mass flows to the fuel cell – one of the major advancements in comparison to our previous vehicle is the inclusion of a fixed-geometry ejector. This is a passive device used to sustain hydrogen recirculation to the fuel cell, specifically on the anode side of the fuel cell.

What is the Purpose of an Ejector?

The ejector, in essence, can be viewed as a pump: a device that increases the pressure of a fluid to overcome the frictional losses it associated with mass transport. Within our balance of plant, an ejector is used to maintain the flow of hydrogen on the anode side of the fuel cell. Typically, this function is fulfilled by pumps, such as the recirculation pump used in the Forze VIII. The major disadvantage of such pumps is that such require large amounts of power, usually in the order of several kilowatts, to achieve the required pressure lift. This power, produced by the fuel cell system, is directly consumed by the systems supporting its operation, and are therefore referred to as parasitic losses.

The ejector aims to reduce the parasitic losses of the balance of plant by tapping into another energy source: the potential energy stored as pressure within the hydrogen storage tanks. The hydrogen in the vehicle is stored under 700 bar, which must be brought back to near atmospheric pressure before it can be used in the fuel cell. Ordinarily, this throttling process is not used to produce useful work; however, ejector systems are designed to use this potential energy to increase the pressure of the hydrogen in the anode recirculation loop. This allows the anode side of the fuel cell to be supplied with an excess amount of hydrogen, ensuring proper operation.

How Does an Ejector Work?

The ejector increases the pressure of the gases in the anode recirculation loop of the fuel cell by throttling the hydrogen to a pressure several bar above the final desired pressure. Using a convergent-nozzle geometry, the hydrogen coming from the storage system is accelerated, which consequently decreases the fluid’s static pressure. If the ejector geometry is designed correctly, the pressure of the fluid leaving the nozzle is lower than the pressure of the fluid already present in the recirculation loop: as a result, the hydrogen in the recirculation loop is entrained because of the negative pressure gradient. The gases in the anode loop are thus accelerated and mix with the hydrogen coming from the storage system at a high velocity. At this point, a significant amount of the fluid’s energy is in the form of kinetic energy. To transfer this kinetic energy back into potential energy, in the form of pressure, the flow is fed through a diffuser. If designed correctly, the ejector can thus increase the pressure of the fluid relative to the entrained flow.

How do you Design an Ejector Geometry?

The design of ejector geometry is no easy task. Ensuring that the maximum pressure lift the ejector is capable of creating is large enough for the desired recirculation mass flows requires extensive simulation of the ejector geometry. The main technique used in this process was computational fluid dynamics (CFD), which aims to accurately model the hydrogen flows.

To validate these simulations and confirm the performance of our design, we have developed a custom ejector test bench. With this knowledge we hope to confirm the feasibility of our design and gather the first data we will need to develop the control systems that will regulate the hydrogen flow coming from the hydrogen storage system.

Written by Alvaro Detailleur, Chief Simulation & Control, team XIV.

Published: the 4th of May, 2021, 13:30

Shell Main Sponsor of Hydrogen Racing Team Forze

Shell Main Sponsor of Hydrogen Racing Team Forze

Delft / The Hague – 3 March 2021; Shell commits as main sponsor to Forze, the hydrogen racing team of students from Delft University of Technology. This team of bright minds is building the fastest race car on hydrogen. With this sponsorship, that started at the beginning of 2021, a next step will be taken in the development of racing on hydrogen. It helps to further develop sustainable mobility in a broad sense and will promote hydrogen as a fuel of the future.

About Forze

Forze is a racing team of 25 full-time students and 35 part-time students. Together they work on the development of a race car on hydrogen. Forze has been around for 14 years, the team’s composition changes every year, and every race car they make is more innovative than its predecessor. With their car they don’t compete in student races, no they join official GT-races on world renowned tracks like Zandvoort and Assen. The team’s ultimate dream: competing in Le Mans.

The Forze IX

The students work collaboratively to continuously build better, faster and more advanced hydrogen-powered race cars. The current team is working on the Forze IX, their ninth race car already. A few features of the Forze IX:

  • LMP3 class;
  • maximum speed of 300 km per hour;
  • Boost-power of 800 bhp;
  • A unique kinetic energy recovery system;
  • All-wheel drive;
  • Two fuel cells.

TU Delft Students Present the World’s Fastest Hydrogen Racing Car

TU Delft Students Present the World’s Fastest Hydrogen Racing Car

Students of the Technical University of Delft presented the design of their newest hydrogen racing car on Wednesday. This car is revolutionary, as this technology has never been used before in such a powerful hydrogen-electric race car. The car will compete with the best conventional racing cars on long distances, a challenge no one has taken on before.

Not All Work in Vain

Originally, Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing had organised a large event for the Forze IX reveal on the 20th of April, that was unfortunately cancelled due to the coronavirus. Determined to still share their hard work with the world, they decided to go online with their presentations: A new reveal every month until the grand finale, which took place yesterday. The team consists of 23 students that have voluntarily worked full time on the development of a race car for the past year. “The construction and ambition of this team are like no other. We work so intensively that it was a huge blow when we were forced to work from home,” says team manager Jesper Frijns. While presenting in front of a live audience was unfortunately not possible, last night, Jesper Frijns and chief engineer Antonio Scoccimarro told the inspiring story of Forze online. “It was amazing to, on behalf of the team, part-timers, sponsors and partners, be able to present the design. We have achieved something incredible in these turbulent times,” said Frijns. The result of the presentation can be seen on the YouTube channel of Forze Delft.

Racing Against Porsche

Besides the story of the team itself, there were extensive talks about the latest design of the team, a race monster named Forze IX. “We want to continue growing, challenge ourselves and push the limit of technology. That is why we accepted the challenge and that is why the Forze IX will race faster than any hydrogen car before,” says Frijns. As soon as the Corona crisis allows for it, production will take off, after which the racing car will be competing against Porsches, Lamborghinis and BMWs soon. A year ago, the predecessor of the car, the Forze VIII, gained a podium place in the Supercar Challenge Sport’s Class. With 520hp, the new hydrogen-electric car will have twice that of its predecessor. The Forze IX can reach a top speed of up to 300 km/h. With an acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h within 3 seconds, sharp turns and a perfectly thought-out race strategie, they expect to be able to handle the competition. With these impressive numbers the students prove once again that racing can also be green and without emission.

Emission-Free Racing

Despite the many revolutionary technologies implemented within the Forze IX, the basic principle of the hydrogen car remains the same. During racing, hydrogen from the tanks is combined with oxygen from the air in the fuel cell. There, a chemical reaction takes place where electricity is generated, with which the electric motors are powered. The only emission from this process is water. It is comparable to electric driving, although there is a big difference: instead of waiting for charging, you can just refuel the hydrogen tank, and the race car is ready to hit the track within a few minutes. With this design the team expects to make a big leap in the world of green racing. Therefore, they will put in all of their efforts to make sure the Forze IX will be able to complete its first laps in the summer of 2021.

World’s First: Hydrogen-Electric Race Car Beats the Petrol-Powered Competition

World’s First: Hydrogen-Electric Race Car Beats the Petrol-Powered Competition

Picture by Hexashots

The “Forze VIII”, a hydrogen-electric Le Mans-style prototype, became the first-ever hydrogen-electric vehicle to beat petrol-powered cars in an official race Sunday evening. The car, that was designed, built, tested and raced by a group of students from the Delft University of Technology, finished second in the Supercar Challenge at the TT Circuit in Assen, the Netherlands.

Proud to finish on the podium

In a field of 43 petrol-powered race cars, the pink race car started the last race of the weekend from the fourth position. After a strong start, the car climbed quickly from fourth to second in its class. Within a few laps, driver Leo van der Eijk had already built up a 15-second gap between him and the third position. The team was able to keep up the pace for the rest of the race and secured a podium position. “We’re incredibly proud of what we have accomplished today. Never before did a hydrogen-electric race car beat other cars in an official competition – let alone the kind of petrol-powered race cars we were racing against today. This podium finish is the result of not just one year, but twelve years of dedication, faith and hard work. Being a student team makes it feel almost unreal to be the first to ever accomplish this” says Zhi Wei Cai, Team Manager.

Learned a lot from Zandvoort

Mid-July the team also faced gasoline-driven competitors at the future Formula 1 Circuit of Zandvoort. The team was unable to finish the first race because of technical difficulties, but the second race was promising. However, after setting the fastest lap time, the car shut down for a brief moment, causing the Forze VIII to drop from the first to the last position. Not having enough time to reclaim the places they lost, the team finished last.

Zhi Wei Cai, Team Manager: “After our race in Zandvoort, we knew we had the pace. The biggest challenge for this weekend was to maintain that speed for an entire race. That’s why we worked harder than ever before in the last weeks to maximise our performance here in Assen. It was worth it, this time we finally secured a spot on the podium.

Picture by Hexashots

0-100 km/h in less than 4 seconds, emission-free

The student-built Forze VIII is a hydrogen-electric car. Just like battery-electric cars, the wheels are driven by electric motors, which are powered by electricity. In a hydrogen-electric vehicle, that electricity is produced while the car is driving. Hydrogen from a tank is combined with oxygen from the outside air, a process that produces only water next to the electricity needed to power the electric motors. The car can be refilled in three minutes.

While the pink race car is not comparable to the petrol-powered competition from a technical point of view, it is in terms of performance. The Forze VIII can accelerate from 0 to a 100 km/h in under 4 seconds and has a top speed of over 210 km/h. The maximum torque the motors can deliver is 780 Nm, this is the same “turning power” as a 10cm long wrench that has a 780kg weight attached to one end. For comparison: the Ferrari 812 Superfast, one of the fastest models the Italian sports car manufacturer produces, taps out at 718 Nm.

Picture by Hexashots

The next-generation hydrogen racer

Student team Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing has existed for over 12 years, in this period they have built 8 cars. The team’s mission is to promote fuel-cell technology. “We build an inspiring example, a race car, and we use it to show the possibilities of hydrogen to the world,” says Cai. “The Forze VIII has been that example for the last two years, we have done everything we can on this platform. Designing, building and testing the next generation hydrogen-racer, the Forze IX, will be the next challenge for our team. Todays podium-finish has only made us more enthusiastic about what we can do with the next 

Waterstofracewagen is op dreef

De door Delftse studenten ontwikkelde waterstof racewagen Forze VIII heeft dit weekend twee veelbelovende races gereden waarin coureur Jan Bot in beide races de snelste rondetijd neerzette. In deze wedstrijden nam het Forze team met hun waterstof raceauto op tegen conventionele racewagens.

Vliegende start

Met een uitstekende start begon studententeam Forze zondagavond 14 juli aan een 60 minuten durende race op circuit Zandvoort. Als enige waterstofvoertuig ter wereld dat meedoet aan een officiële autorace was er veel aandacht voor de roze racewagen. Het team zette al snel na de start de beste rondetijd binnen hun klasse neer, na een dag eerder ook al het ronderecord voor elektrische sportwagens op Circuit Zandvoort te hebben aangescherpt.

De Forze VIII maakte een enorme inhaalslag in de eerste helft van de race en voor een aantal rondes reed de wagen op de eerste plek met ruim 10 seconden voorsprong op de nummer twee. Terwijl de voorsprong groter en groter werd viel de wagen uit het niets kort uit door een technisch probleem. De Forze VIII wist de hierdoor opgelopen achterstand niet meer in te halen, maar heeft de rest van de race consistent goede rondetijden neergezet.

Zhi Wei Cai, Team Manager: “Er is afgelopen jaar met het hele team enorm hard gewerkt om deze prestatie mogelijk te maken. Vorig jaar waren we het eerste team ter wereld dat überhaupt een race uitreed op waterstof, al konden we toen nog totaal niet meekomen met de competitie. Om nu, één jaar later, consistent competitieve rondetijden neer te zetten is fantastisch. Als je bedenkt wat ons team bereikt met beperkte middelen, stel je dan eens voor wat er allemaal bereikt kan worden met waterstof als écht grote partijen hier serieus werk van maken. Ons tempo ten opzichte van de benzine aangedreven competitie laat zien dat waterstoftechnologie echt potentie heeft.”

Het team op het podium na de finish.

Racen zonder uitstoot

Een waterstofauto, zoals de Forze VIII, is in feite een elektrische auto. In plaats van elektrische energie op te slaan in batterijen wordt er echter gebruik gemaakt van een zogenaamde brandstofcel. Hierin wordt waterstof uit een tank gecombineerd met zuurstof uit de buitenlucht. Deze reactie heeft twee restproducten: elektriciteit en puur water. De elektriciteit gaat naar de twee elektromotoren die de achterwielen aandrijven en het water wordt verneveld in de buitenlucht. “We kunnen onze waterstoftanks binnen 3 minuten aftanken, dat is een enorm voordeel ten opzichte van batterij-elektrisch voertuigen,” zo vertelt Team Manager Zhi Wei Cai.”

Pitstop tijdens de free practice op vrijdag, foto door Hexashots.

Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing

Studententeam Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing bestaat al sinds 2007. Het team heeft inmiddels acht auto’s gebouwd, allen waterstof aangedreven. Waar de eerste vijf wagens nog kleine karts waren waarmee het team meedeed aan een studentencompetitie, is de Forze VIII een volwaardige racewagen zoals je ze normaal gesproken op Le Mans verwacht. Ook voor de toekomst heeft het team nog wilde plannen, Cai: “Volgend jaar gaan we aan de slag met de Forze IX, een nóg krachtigere en snellere wagen dan ons huidige model. Of we volgend jaar al klaar zijn om te racen is nog niet duidelijk, voor ons ligt de prioriteit bij de kwaliteit en de prestaties van de wagen.”

De Forze VIII tijdens de race op zaterdag, foto door Hexashots.

Puntjes op de i

Voordat het zo ver is staat er eerst nog een tweede raceweekend op de planning. Halverwege augustus zal het team deelnemen aan de Gamma Racing Days op het TT circuit van Assen. “We hebben nog een maand de tijd om de Forze VIII te verbeteren, zodat we in onze volgende race het tempo dat we hebben laten zien de hele race vast kunnen houden.” aldus Cai. In het weekend van 17 en 18 augustus wordt het duidelijk in hoeverre de Delftse studenten daarin geslaagd zijn.

Defensie helpt studenten uit de brand

Een raceauto op waterstof die met 200 km/h over een asfaltbaan op een hermetisch afgesloten legerplaats zoeft, omgeven met luchtverdedigingssystemen van Defensie. Het klinkt als een scene uit een actiefilm, maar vond vanmiddag daadwerkelijk plaats op Luitenant-generaal Bestkazerne te Vredepeel.

Forze VIII naast een Patriot-Launcher en Fennek ‘Stinger Waepon Platform’

“Een gekke vraag, hebben jullie misschien ergens een afgesloten asfaltbaan van 700 meter die we in de komende week een paar uur kunnen gebruiken?” Met die zin begon het contact tussen Defensie en het studententeam Forze van de TU Delft. De studenten hebben het afgelopen jaar hard gewerkt om hun racewagen op waterstof klaar te stomen voor een race in Zandvoort op 13 en 14 juli, maar door technische problemen moest test na test worden uitgesteld. “De circuits zaten vol en daarbuiten is het lastig om een plek te vinden waar we onze tests kunnen uitvoeren,” zo zegt Zhi Wei Cai, Team Manager van de groep. “Uit pure noodzaak hebben we toen maar de stoute schoenen aangetrokken en Defensie opgebeld.” En dat dat een juiste zet was bleek wel toen er direct enthousiast op het voorstel werd ingegaan. Binnen een paar uur werden persoonsgegevens doorgegeven, vrijwaringen getekend en voertuigen geregistreerd.

Brigadegeneraal Gerhard Schonewille, directeur Materieel en Diensten van de Koninklijke Landmacht licht graag toe waarom Defensie snel medewerking toezegde: “Als Landmacht volgen we technologische ontwikkelingen op de voet en dragen we daar ook graag aan bij. Met energiebesparing en -transitie kun je in een operatie bijvoorbeeld het aantal logistieke transporten beperken, die altijd een risico vormen en beveiligingscapaciteit vergen.” Defensie zelf verwacht volgend jaar de eerste zonne-energie gedreven wagen in het voertuigenpark: de Lightyear one.

Defensie was er dus snel klaar voor, nu de studenten en hun wagen nog. “De afgelopen 2 weken is er 24/7 aan de auto gewerkt. De energiebuffer moest vervangen worden, een enorme klus die ook nog eens met de grootste zorgvuldigheid moet gebeuren,” aldus Cai. Zelfs de nacht voorafgaand aan de door Defensie opgezette test werd er doorgewerkt door de studenten, die het uiteindelijk voor elkaar kregen de auto test klaar te hebben met nog een aantal uur op de klok.

Luchtafweergeschut naast het circuit

De Delftse studenten, die normaal gesproken op het toekomstige Formule 1 Circuit in Zandvoort testen, voerden maandagmiddag misschien wel de best beveiligde autotest ooit uit. Het Defensie Grondgebonden Luchtverdedigingscommando had ter inspiratie zelf enkele van hun raketsystemen langs de baan gezet.

Forze VIII in actie op de Luitenant-generaal Bestkazerne

Water uit de uitlaat

De roze racewagen van team Forze is gebouwd om het op te nemen tegen racewagens die “gewoon” op benzine rijden. In de Delftse auto is het echter lang zoeken naar een druppel benzine. In een zogenaamde brandstofcel wordt waterstof uit een tank gecombineerd met zuurstof uit de buitenlucht. Deze reactie heeft twee restproducten: elektriciteit en puur water. De elektriciteit gaat naar twee elektromotoren die de achterwielen aandrijven en het water wordt verneveld in de buitenlucht.

Een succesvolle test

De test van maandag was een groot succes. Cai: “Door de lange rechte baan konden we tot onze topsnelheid accelereren en de energiebuffer volledig volladen door regeneratief te remmen tot stilstand. Alles werkte naar behoren, een groot succes dus! Nog een paar dagen sleutelen en dan zijn we klaar voor Zandvoort”

De roze racewagen zal dit jaar viermaal in actie komen. Tweemaal tijdens de Dutch Supercar Challenge in Zandvoort op 13 en 14 juli en tweemaal tijdens de “Gamma Racing Days” op het TT Assen Circuit, op 17 en 18 augustus.

Partnership Event at the Circuit of Zandvoort

On the 16th of April Forze organized a Partnership event. An afternoon filled with informative, fun and even exciting activities for all of our sponsors and partners. A day like this serves as a way for us to thank all of our sponsors and partners for the great collaboration we have. We had a wonderful day and want to thank everybody that was there for making a great day an even greater day!

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Forze VIII proves: Hydrogen is ready for the Challenge!

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.

 

Competitive Spirit

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.

 

Hydrogen

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

Recordpoging circuit Zandvoort maandag 13 augustus

Op maandag 13 Augustus om 18:00 zal de nieuwste generatie waterstof raceauto van Forze, de Forze VIII een poging doen om een nieuw ronde record op het circuit Zandvoort te rijden. De klasse waarin dit record wordt gereden is de Electric Sportscar klasse. Het wordt de laatste ultieme test voordat er wordt afgereisd naar het TT circuit op Assen voor de Gamma Racing Day op 18 en 19 augustus.

Het oude record staat ook op naam van Forze, gereden nog met de Forze VI in een tijd van 2:04,519  in 2015. Met de ontwikkelingen van de afgelopen jaren en op basis van de laatste tests zijn wij er zeer zeker van dat we deze rondetijd gaan verbeteren.

Op 18 en 19 augustus zal Forze mee racen in de Supercar Challenge tijdens de Gamma Racing Day. Op zaterdag 18 augustus wordt om 17:07 een race van 60 minuten gereden, op zondag 19 augustus zullen wij om 14:34 onze 45 minuten race rijden die zeer spannend gaat worden. Als wij de race uitrijden is Forze de eerste waterstof auto ter wereld ooit die een race tegen benzine auto’s heeft uitgereden.

Blijf op de hoogte van het laatste nieuws hoe onze record poging verloopt op alle social media.