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.

 

First test on circuit Zandvoort with the newest generation hydrogen race car!

Monday 30th of July

With our big race ahead we are already some weeks in the testing period. There have already been a lot of different test with the car on the dyno, at RWC ahoy (a small cycling test path) and at the RDW test facility. But the big test had yet to come, driving laps on a real circuit.

Last Monday (30th of July) it was finally time to test on the circuit. With enough confidence in the Forze VIII after all the last tests, we gathered the whole team to come to circuit Zandvoort. Which is unusual, normally only the test crew tests the car. Instead of a small group of 6 to 8 people we were with a group of over 30, because everybody should see this special moment.

From 17:00 we had the track completely for ourselves and with a small start up delay the fun could finally begin. You could hear the zooming sound of all the different pumps in the car and then quietly it drives away. You could immediately feel the tension in the team the moment the car was out of sight. After a little over two minutes we saw it steering trough the last corner and with a setting sun in the back it flew over the finish!

 

In the beginning we could drive several rounds in sequence, and I could tell you it was a special sight. Seeing the future of racing built by students from the TU Delft driving lap after lap at the circuit of Zandvoort was special. During this session the car reached top speeds well over 180 km/h and we drove a best lap time of 2 minutes flat. However, we expect way faster lap times with other tests to come. With for example an anti-roll bar which was not yet fitted to the car this track test.  

Unfortunately, after an hour of testing we heard some bad sound in the left rear, we stopped the car and concluded that we couldn’t continue the test. The part that broke had to be repaired in our workshop in Delft. However, the spirit is high for the Gamma Racing days on 18th and 19th of August. It is not unusual that something breaks during a track test, preferably if something breaks down you want it to break down during a track test. Then you can optimize the part and make sure it won’t happen again during the Supercar Challenge.

With 2 weeks to go the spirit is high and a lot more tests on track are planned. Besides Zandvoort we are also going to test in Assen because in the end that is the circuit we will race on!  

 

First Track Test of the Forze VIII

Yes, finally the day was there. The Forze VIII would drive its first meters outside on the track. It promised to be a sweat dropping hot day, so perfect to test the new cooling in the car to its limit.

The goal of the day was to test the car on low speed. For a racecar driving on low speeds is very difficult since there is not a lot of air going to the radiators to cool the car. Fortunately, the cooling performed well today.

However, the biggest challenge of the test was reliability. On a first track test you always expect a lot of errors in the system. Many of the bugs have already been found and fixed with the dyno tests, but on a track circumstances are always different. Every tracktest, we bring many different tools and create a mini workshop by the track. Because of this we can often fix small problems on track and then continue driving.

After driving for 2 hours straight (with some small repairs) with a speed of 20 km/h we gathered a lot of data from the many sensors in our car. We will now analyse the data so we can make adjustments and optimize our car even further. This is only our first test. From now on we will have a lot more tests on which we will drive at all different kind of speeds and settings. In our car we can adjust many different drive characteristics such as the torque and the suspension settings.

Stay tuned to see our car performing on higher speeds in the coming weeks!

Humidifier blog

Fuel Cell Humidification

Recently, we received a new Humidifier from our longtime friends at FumaTech. Although the previous one was rated for a higher power (100kW), we have switched to a smaller but more modern humidifier, rated to fuel cells up to 70kW. The newer generation part is more efficient, because of its different architecture, and should yield better performance. In addition to this, the new part is 5kg in weight, saving us 2kg off of the old one!

As of publication, the humidifier is being mounted in its position in front of the rear right wheel, so it can be directly integrated into the exhaust system of the fuel cell. Considering the amount of technology in the car, and that the body work is designed to be aerodynamically efficient, fitting the 10 liter capacity humidifier will be a tight fit. Our engineers, however, are up to the task and have evolved quite a bit of dexterity reaching into small, cramped spaces over the course the Forze VII’s evolution!

The operation of the humidifier is as follows: dry air is brought in via the air intake, and moist air is routed in from the exhaust flow of the fuel cell. The two air streams are separated by a membrane, through which gaseous water vapor can pass. The two air streams run in opposite directions (counterflow) in order to increase the total amount of air passing through the humidifier and therefore the total amount of air being treated. This type of humidifier is a so-called “gas to gas” device because it does not use liquid to provide the humidity (a “liquid to gas” configuration). This saves weight as the humidifier does not need to be filled with water to work. The fuel cell does produce water in its exhaust, but only some of it is useful for the humidifier. The exhaust consists of water droplets that are suspended  in the gaseous out flow, liquid water, and finally gaseous water vapor, which is used in the humidifier. The water droplets and liquid water are collected and removed from the exhaust using a water separator, leaving the water vapor to be used in the humidifier.

The humidifier ensures that the air entering the Fuel cell is of a high enough relative humidity. Regulating the humidity of intake airflow is vital to the efficient operation of a fuel cell because the membranes that help regulate ion flow are very sensitive to fluctuations in humidity. If the intake air is too dry, the membranes could dry out, especially when the fuel cell is being run at high performances, like during a race. Low membrane moisture means it becomes less conductive and therefore less efficient, leading to overheating and a decrease in performance.

Although it is hard to say the exact impact that the upgraded humidifier will have, its a definite improvement to the old one, and will lead to improved fuel cell performance. More testing will yield figures on the extent of the gains made with the new part.

By: Willem van der Vliet