The three-wheeled vehicle with a carbon fibre body is three meters long and weighs about 40 kg. "Obviously, with so little mass, we need less energy to accelerate the car" - told PAP Bartłomiej Ząbek, President of Eco CarPG at Gdansk University of Technology, whose members are building a vehicle.
The car uses a fuel cell package of a total power of 500 W. They produce from electricity hydrogen, which then powers the Maxon 200 W motor. "Due to the use of the cells, the car is very environmentally friendly" - noted Ząbek.
As he explained, this is yet another version of hydrogen-powered vehicle built by the group - an improved version of the previous car.
Today, over a dozen people from various faculties of the university work on the vehicle, but the project has already involved a total of about 50 people. "The group has been around since 2012 and the team changes - as the graduates end their studies, they are replaced by new students" - explained Ząbek.
He added that during the work on the vehicle students had created, among other things, a proprietary energy recovery system during braking. "We have also tested various types of gearboxes and motors for our vehicle, and we hope the result is a vehicle that will allow us to achieve a good result in the Shell Eco-marathon in London, driving as many miles as possible with the least amount of fuel" - Ząbek told PAP.
He explained that no tests had been carried out yet, but according to student estimates the car should be able to drive about 300 kilometres on one litre of hydrogen.
The competition for young engineers Shell Eco-marathon will be held at the end of May in London. Teams from high schools and universities from all over the world participate in the competition. Last year more than 200 cars were in the competition. Vehicles drove the designated route, and the jury evaluated their energy efficiency based on fuel consumption; winners in each category we the teams whose vehicles were able to drive the longest distance on the equivalent of one litre of fuel or one kWh.
Students from Gdansk University of Technology have competed Shell Eco-marathon three times (2014-2016). So far, they have not won a place on the podium, but they hope that the vehicle that is being improved from year to year will eventually bring them success. "The competition is a great opportunity to exchange experiences. People come from all over the world and each team has their own innovative solutions that they present" - noted Ząbek.
In the future, students want to continue to improve the car, including the braking system, which will optimise the drive and electronics. Ząbek added that the group was also looking for sponsors who would help students with further work on the vehicle, including the purchase of materials and parts. (PAP)
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