Zero Emission Vehicles

In the past, multiple types of fuels have been used to power vehicles. In the beginning of motoring history, electric cars were also available. At this moment, multiple resources are used to power a vehicle; petrol, diesel, bio-fuels, natural gas, electricity and hydrogen. The developments in recent decades made us realize how important a sustainable solution for mobility is. Fossil fuels are getting scarce, expensive and are polluting our planet.

New, potentially more sustainable systems have been developed over the years, under which the hydrogen fuel cell. Forze is considering hydrogen as one of the future solutions to power vehicles and other applications, even at home. Car manufacturers like Hyundai, Mercedes and Honda are developing fuel cell cars and are aiming to sell these cars to the public starting 2015. Many European countries are investing in hydrogen filling station networks to accommodate these cars. Germany is a perfect example,aiming for 50 hydrogen refueling stations in 2015.

At this moment, hydrogen fuel cell race cars are very rare. Forze and Green GT are the only two parties which develop high power fuel cell race cars at this moment. Forze is the only student team working with high power automotive fuel cells worldwide.

Hydrogen Electric

In a conventional road car, the energy that is stored in fuel is converted to mechanical energy, by the principle of combustion. The Forze cars however, utilize a different and far more efficient concept. The fuel cell on board the vehicles converts the energy stored in its fuel, the hydrogen, to electric energy. This means that the hydrogen fuel cell system can be used to power an electric drivetrain like a battery.

The efficiency of the fuel conversion is about two to three times higher than a conventional combustion engine. Furthermore, there are some qualities which set hydrogen-electric vehicles apart from their battery-electric relatives. The most obvious would be the time required to recharge/refill and the driving range. Hydrogen tanks can be refilled within minutes, like a conventional combustion car, whereas batteries currently need hours to recharge

This makes hydrogen-electric propulsion ideal for applications where non-stop operation and/or a long driving range is required.

Emission: 0 g CO2

Advantages

  • Longe range (up to 500km)
  • Autonomy
  • Suitable for heavy cars/buses
  • Filling up as a regular car
  • Reliability & Lifetime
  • Recyclability

Producing Hydrogen

Hydrogen can be produced in multiple ways:

Steam reforming from natural gas
Electrolysis

The first method is used the most at this moment, a quite efficient process. Still, fossil resources are used. Therefore electrolysis is preferable, for this type of production only electricity and water is needed. This means sustainable energy sources such as windmills and solar panels can be used to produce hydrogen.

Disadvantages

  • Limited infrastructure available
  • More expensive than battery-powered cars
  • Not all hydrogen sources sustainable