The 18 fulltimers are getting their hands on the difficulties of high-tech hydrogen (racing) engineering and its industry. A lot of effort is being put into acquiring components like new hydrogen storage tanks, performing race simulations to find the maximum gearbox torque and adapting complex designs. In addition the Ministry of Defense showed interest in our fuel cell system.
Scroll down for pictures
Maximal gearbox testing
At the moment a lot of effort is being put in the arrangement of new hydrogen tanks, to get us from 350 up to 700 bar enabling us to almost double hydrogen storage and thereby our racing minutes. Finally this should help us set highly competitive lap times in the Supercar Challenge. In addition a big project we worked on concerned a leaking gearbox. During a test at the RDW Lelystad, a GoPro was mounted under the rear cover of the car. When driving laps on the track, this GoPro would take footage of the gearbox in action, such that we could see where the oil was leaking.
Since we also were testing the gearbox on the maximal torque it can deliver, some unfavourable spectacular footage could also be expected if the gearbox did reach its limits. Fortunately it did not break, but we could clearly see a lot of oil leaking. Surprisingly, the footage also showed that the gearbox shifted in its mount when loaded… Luckily were able to spot and fix this on time before doing any damage to our car.
Although we now were certain that it was the gearbox which is leaking, we did not know where from. To figure that out, another test was planned. This time, fluorescent dye was mixed with the gearbox oil and a UV-lamp illuminated the system. With this addition, it became very easy to pinpoint the source of our leakage problems. And, besides from creating a huge mess, it gave us some pretty, disco-esque pictures of our car.
Besides the gearbox project there are various other activities going on as well. The Fuel Cell department, for example, is 3D printing its own components for use in the car. Other departments are mainly working out their design concepts or are installing a large amount of sensors they just acquired from goodwill companies. In the current phase a lot of work goes into these finalising and adapting concepts, as we are rebuilding the entire chassis of the car.
Communication is key. Besides advising others, we ourselves can use a lot of advice on our projects as well. For this, we scheduled a quarterly meeting with the previous boards of Forze. To get as much valuable knowledge as possible across, we openly discussed our running projects. When taking into account that our team is running for 10 years, the core-team fully changes every year and that we are in a rapidly evolving industry, you could imagine that good communication is saving us a lot. To smoothen the knowledge transfer we see proper communication as an essential part of our focus. This starts with a stand-up every morning at 10:00 o’clock with all the team members present.
Science For Humanity. On Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October the Forze VII was surrounded by high-tech military vehicles of the Dutch Defense. In the stylish new National Military Museum the Science for Humanity event gave us the opportunity to discuss hydrogen with very interesting people from Defense. We concluded that the Ministry of Defense is seriously investigating innovative energy solutions like hydrogen fuel cell systems.
Hydrogen = Trending On the 19th of October we made our second visit to the Martiniplaza in Groningen. This time we were exhibiting the Forze VII at Trendship. We were surrounded by a lot of interesting people the whole day. The guests really appreciated our team and were already quite knowledgeable on hydrogen themselves.
Open Days The faculties of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science and Industrial Design asked us to be present at their open days. We inspired upcoming students with our Forze stories and with our two most recent hydrogen racecars of course, the Forze VI and VII.
Karsten Bakker, Christophe Geuens, Simon Vermeijlen