Arno's EnergyIdeas (21)
Dutch Zero Emission Car wins Formula Zero Race
Formular 1 Races and the environment are two things, which are difficult to combine. With Formula Zero, a new zero-emission race class for hydrogen and fuel cells vehicles, it is different. At the end of August 2008, the first international race of this series took place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The Dutch team "Green Choice ForZe" from the Technical University of Delft won the long distance race and won the coveted zeroth place. The Spanish team "EuplatecH2" from the University of Zaragoza Eupla won the sprint competition with the fastest racing round.
Photo: The long-distance race of the Formula Zero event was won by the Dutch team with their FC-vehicle „Green Choice ForZe"
Photo: Ulrich Felger
, Arno A. Evers FAIR-PR
Other participating racing teams were: the Zero Emissions Solvay Umicore Racing team from Leuven in Belgium, the team from Imperial College London with its Imperial Racing Green; HercUCLAs, the team from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), USA, as well as, one car from Lawrence Tech, Southfield, MI, USA. German teams were not at the start.
This was the first international race for fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen as fuel. The race was, in a first step, performed with go-karts, designed and built by teams of students. The ultimate goal is to become a complete race class by 2015 in order to compete with internal combustion engines on race tracks around the world.
Races with vehicles containing fuel cells and electric motors in the drive train should demontstrate the everyday use of these vehicles. In the August 2008 competition, all cars were equipped with a 8.5kW HyPM8 fuel cell system from Hydrogenics Corporation, Mississauga, ON, Canada. Size: 85x36x25cm, Weight: 75 kg. Maximum output current 180A, with tensions between 48 and 79V.
Formula Zero was founded in 2003 by the Dutch motorsport enthusiasts Godert van Hardenberg Broek and Eelco Rietveld to promote alternative forms of motorsport. The world's first fully functional go-kart with fuel cells for power generation and Ultracapacitors for electricity storage built by Formula Zero was on display at the Group Exhibition Hydrogen and Fuel Cells at the Hanover Fair 2006.
Another international race will take place at the end of March 2009 in Columbia, SC, USA, during the 20th Anniversary of the National Hydrogen Association with Conference and Hydrogen Expo.
One should pause for thoughts here. Formula Zero is in good company, as Hydrogen can only be called to be with „zero emission“, if only „real“ renewable energies are used as primary sources and not fossil fuels to produce the hdrogen. Otherwise, the place of emission production will only be shifted from the exhaust to the industrial, central steam reformer. The company Linde Gas Benelux is the exclusive hydrogen supplier for Formula Zero: "... because of their environmentally friendly production ..."
On its own website, The Linde Group is publishing on the topic of hydrogen production:
„>>>...Luckily, hydrogen can be produced from both fossil fuels (e.g. coal, natural gas) and from renewable energy sources (e.g. solar energy, water power, wind power, biomass).
Producing hydrogen from fossil fuels by steam reforming is currently the most efficient and economical method. It does, however, involve the formation of CO2. Using renewable energy sources, on the other hand, is currently less economical, but more eco-friendly. In the long run, combining renewable energy sources and hydrogen as an energy carrier offers the double benefit of a completely emission-free energy cycle and 100 % sustainability...<<<“
Well, luckly, everything looks good for the zero emissions. Or maybe not?
In this context, one should also keep an eye on the facts and figures from the Annual Report 2007 of the Linde Group. I quote the Linde Group again:
„>>> ... On a comparable basis, we increased Group sales by 13.9 percent to EUR 12.306 bn (2006: EUR 10.803 bn) and operating profit (EBITDA) by 18.1 percent to EUR 2.424 bn (2006: EUR 2.053 bn)...(...) As one of the world’s largest suppliers of hydrogen, we can benefit for example from the continuing high level of demand from oil companies and refineries which require the industrial gas hydrogen for the desulphurisation of their fuels, in order to comply with everincreasing environmental regulations. (...)In the 2007 financial year, The Linde Group with a total workforce of 50,485 spent a total of EUR 97 m on research and development...<<<“