It was the ultimate test for the Forze VI, the hydrogen-powered racing car built by students at TU Delft: a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. With none other than former Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers at the wheel, the Forze VI raced through the 21 kilometres and 176 corners in under 11 minutes. Never before had a car with a hydrogen fuel cell gone round the famous circuit so quickly. With their hydrogen-powered race car, the students wanted to demonstrate the potential of hydrogen fuel cells for the automotive industry.
Racing driver Jan Lammers was full of praise for the car: “It is extremely impressive that these students have designed and built a race car that rides and handles so well, even more so when you consider the advanced technology under the bonnet. Hats off to them.” The Forze VI was designed by a group of 50 students from Delft University of Technology. Together they spent two and a half years developing the hydrogen racing car, which is the first of its kind in the world. “This successful lap is a huge boost for the team”, said team leader Menno Dalmijn, “Today we were able to collect its huge quantity of useful test data. There’s a good reason why this circuit is nicknamed ‘the green hell’: it pushes any sports car to its limits. We are going to use the data to keep improving the car. The fact is we are currently only using 50% of its full power”. Today, Forze VI achieved a top speed of 170 km/h. According to the students, however, it can go a lot faster. Ultimately, the car should be able to achieve a top speed of 220 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h within four seconds. “The great thing is that the emissions are precisely 0 grams of CO2. The only thing to come out of the exhaust is pure water”, Menno Dalmijn adds.
In the racing car’s fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen react with each other. The cell converts the gasses into electricity with extremely high efficiency (60%). This electricity is then used to drive the car's electric motors. Hydrogen fuel cells have a huge advantage over batteries in the electric cars, and that is their range. As is the case with petrol-driven vehicles, hydrogen cars can be refuelled in a matter of minutes, which is a lot more practical when travelling long distances.
The Delft Formula Zero Team has been developing hydrogen technology since 2008. In the coming years, the team wants to start competing with racing cars that use combustion engines, with the ultimate goal of participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a hydrogen-powered racing car.
Imbema and Forze
Since the very beginning in 2013, Imbema has supported the development and construction of Forze VI as a sponsor of the Forze Hydrogen Racing Team. Read more about our role as sponsor here.