Two weeks ago we had our efficiency race, the Shell Eco-marathon, at the TT circuit Assen, where we beat our own world record of 2019. The Aurora Omega ended second! With this score, we will finish our Shell Eco-marathon history and start focusing on going faster and racing in the Formula Student competition. This way we want to push the technology of hydrogen and teach more people about its possibilities.
Fuel cell problems
Two months before the race we got a huge setback. Our very efficient fuel cell broke due to an issue and had to be returned to be repaired. Therefore the Aurora Omega had to drive on a different fuel cell during the race.
The company of the original fuel cell hoped they would be able to fix the fuel cell within 6 weeks. However, we thought it would take much longer, which is why we started looking for a new one, just in case. This was a great decision because the repair is not finished yet. Luckily we found a new fuel cell that met our requirements, a second-handed from 2013 which is less efficient, but we were able to race and with a great result as well!
Racing for efficiency
The first few days of the race were extremely exciting due to the technical inspection, which was quite a challenge. Among others, we had problems with the hydrogen sensor which was not sensitive enough and the brake lights did not react when the driver braked mechanically. However, we got through the technical inspection 15 minutes before the deadline, which made it a close call but gave great relief and the first victory could be celebrated.
On the first attempt, we got an efficiency score of 184 km/Nm3. This signifies a distance of 2000 km on 1 kg hydrogen. After the first attempt, the technical team got into a discussion and decided to change the driving strategy by taking the wind and other factors into account. With this change, we got a higher score for each attempt, and at our fourth and final attempt, we climbed from third to second place!
A final score of 304 km/Nm3: 3382 km on 1 kg hydrogen, which is from the Netherlands to Kazakhstan.
Our days in Assen are a nice ending of the SEM for us. We beat our own world record from 2019 and can now fully focus on going faster in our new challenge: the Formula Student competition. This means we will move on to the next area where we are building a different car, which will not only drive efficient but also fast. With this change, we will be the only team driving on hydrogen in the Formula Student this summer 2022. We will drive in as well the Formula Student Netherlands, as Formula Student Germany at the Hockenheim-circuit.