Still waiting to buy a hydrogen car?
Green Team Twente makes a move in the right direction!
Guest Blog by Bram de la Combé from Green Team Twente
Everyone knows the battery-electric Tesla’s. In 2012, they introduced
their model S which gave the sales of electric vehicles a boost in countries
like the US, China, UK, Norway and the Netherlands. During the same year,
Green Team Twente was founded at the University of Twente, the Netherlands.
They did a great job by building a magnificent hydrogen car, which won
the first place at the European Championship for ultra-efficient hydrogen
Since then, the battle of future mobility has begun. Will the battery
electric car like the Model S win or will it be a hydrogen electric vehicle?
At the moment hydrogen cars are at the beginning of their growth stage,
but consumers are not really aware of their existence and car companies
are waiting for a proper hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Therefore,
the market for hydrogen cars is currently less developed than the battery
electric market, but both have the same potential. Hydrogen vehicles are
known for their longer range and shorter refueling times compared to battery
electric cars. This potential has to be made reality within the upcoming
During my studies MSc Industrial Engineering and Management at the University
of Twente I wanted to do something which creates an impact. At the Green
Team Twente we are working on building the most efficient hydrogen car.
The estimations for this year are high, but realistic. With a fuel efficiency
of 1L to 1000 km (gasoline equivalent) we belong to one of the top teams
in the world.
We will participate in the Urban Concept class at the SEM, the Shell
Eco-Marathon. This year it takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
in London, UK on May 25-28. There, over 200 different student teams of
all around Europe will battle for having the most energy-efficient car.
Seen by 30.000 visitors, every team has to succeed 10 laps of 1659 meters
within a certain amount of time. The team that uses the least amount of
As mentioned at the beginning, the first year was a great success. With
a fuel efficiency of 727 km/l we became the number one of Europe. During
the following years, the track became a lot harder and even some hills
were added. It is a very realistic simulation of normal day to day driving,
but it makes it very tricky to drive as efficient as possible. Last year,
June 2016, we were back in business with a third place.
The Green Team-ers
We are working with the most motivated people you will find at the University
of Twente. We create impact and are able to push ourselves to the limit.
We have a great diversity with 19 students from different studies and different
nationalities. They are working on a full-time or part-time base for one
year. A very appealing setting for this student team is that team members
can integrate parts of their study, so they really can become a specialist
in their discipline.
The team consist of car enthusiasts, so a lot of inspiration is fetched
through Formula One teams. They know how to build a car and process it
in a professional way. For example, we like the way they express their
partners on the car or how they handle data acquisition. In the future
it would be great to learn more from those teams.
Partners are key
In order to build one of the most fuel efficient cars, we depend on
good relations with our partners. Every new team meets existing partners
and are looking for new ones to improve our network. Since 2014, Bronkhorst
is one of our partners. By supplying us with their flowmeters, we are able
know the exact flow of hydrogen and air in our fuel cell. Which is extremely
important during the race, in order to optimize our driving strategy.
Our powertrain consists of a PEM fuel cell with super capacitors that
work like a buffer. The fuel cell generates a constant amount of power
whereby the capacitors are used to release or capture extra energy during
acceleration or braking. While driving we can control the amount of energy
produced by the fuel cell by adjusting the flow of air. Of course we want
to finish with the least amount of hydrogen used, so knowing the exact
flow of air will benefit us to make the car as efficient as possible.
It will be exciting to see if we are going to win the European Championship
again, follow us from May 25th to May 28th on our social media! For now,
we, the Green Team Twente and Bronkhorst, are going to continue to realize
more awareness and popularity of hydrogen powered cars by pushing the current
technology to the limits of efficiency.
Teaser video: https://youtu.be/rOt9awLXT0Y