Team manager Matthias Haalstra: “We focused on reliability this year, and we delivered”. The team tested the car previously at a race in Oss. Although there were no official winners, the results were also very positive. “We were filled with confidence, especially after the race in Oss, but we wouldn't have dreamed that things would go so well in London," says driver Yanna Kraakman.
The Shell Eco-Marathon is one of the world's largest student races, focusing on efficiency rather than speed. Green Team Twente is taking part in the UrbanConcept category, aiming at designing a car that is suitable for city traffic. Specific rules must be met, such as having a wiper and a certain amount of luggage space.
Green Team Twente had several attempts to achieve results but already scored high at the first attempt. They achieved an efficiency of 230 km / m3, which is equivalent to 1 litre of gasoline per 722 kilometres. However, our best achievement only occurred at the third attempt, where an equivalent of 1 in 760 was achieved. “Everything worked as it should. We had no major problems,” says hydrogen specialist Remko van Gestel.
In addition to the regular race, they will participate in the so-called “Driver’s World Championship” on Friday. In this race, the best UrbanConcept teams will compete against each other, but this time speed matters, rather than efficiency.
The heart of the car, the fuel cell, has been renewed this year. This system turns hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, which is then used by the electric motors to drive the wheels. “Compared to the old system, this new fuel cell is a lot more efficient and performs better at higher temperatures,” says hydrogen specialist Marieke Altena. “That is why this fuel cell provided greater reliability during the race.”
In addition to the fuel cell, many other parts have been renewed. For example, the gearbox has been completely redesigned. Also, the weight of the drive shaft was significantly reduced, and the electronics have been adapted to handle the interference caused by the large number of communication systems in London. In addition, the team has developed a model with which the optimum driving strategy can be determined. Strategist and driver Yanna Kraakman: “With this model, we can determine exactly how fast we have to drive and how we have to take turns. We do all this to drive as efficiently as possible.”
Not one, not two, but three trophies. Aside from winning Shell Eco Marathon, Green Team Twente won both the Driver's World Championship (DWC) and the Communications Award. This means they are now world champion.
Driver's World Championship
The DWC is a race about speed, rather than obtaining the highest efficiency. The top 3 UrbanConcept cars of every energy type (Battery Electric, ICE and Hydrogen) of the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe are allowed to participate in this race. Those nine cars are competing against each other to be the first to complete 7 laps on the track. The race was more exciting and nerve-wracking than any race they previously competed in, but luckily, we quickly gained a head start on the rest of the teams. Our strategy was to accelerate really quickly, so the other teams couldn’t catch up with us. The Aurora 2 was able to accelerate very fast and efficiently at the same time, resulting in a few competitors being lapped and finishing first. An impressive achievement, especially because the Aurora 2 was the first hydrogen car to win the DWC.
In addition to the other two prizes, Green Team Twente was also awarded the communications award. The team was selected because of its diverse content, activities, a strong brand and the most considered communications strategy.
Green Team Twente consists of 21 students from the University of Twente and Saxion University of Applied Sciences that are either full-time or part-time involved in the promotion of hydrogen. They not only do this by building a fuel-efficient hydrogen car, but they also provide guest lectures at schools and make educational videos. The purpose of all their activities is to put hydrogen on the map so that more people become familiar with this form of clean energy storage. This way, Green Team Twente contributes to the SDGs and a sustainable future.