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Bürkert optimises 'green' hydrogen electric race car

The fluid technology specialist Bürkert has provided a fluid control system for the fuel cell stack of the hydrogen electric race car 'Forze VI'.

The racing team is run by students of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The hydrogen electric race car will attempt to break the record for fuel cell powered vehicles on the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife. Besides records the goal is to compete against petrol powered race cars to demonstrate how fast green technology can be. Bürkert presented the race car at this year’s Hannover Fair.

In the past, multiple types of engines have been used to power vehicles. In the beginning of motoring history, also electric cars were available. At this moment, multiple resources are used to power a vehicle; petrol, diesel, bio-fuels, natural gas, electricity and hydrogen. The developments in recent decades made us realize the importance of sustainable solutions for mobility. Fossil fuels are getting scarce, expensive and are polluting. New, more sustainable systems have been developed over the years, under which the hydrogen fuel cell car. Forze is considering hydrogen as one of the future solutions to power vehicles and other applications, even at home.

Long term relationship

The team has a rich heritage in fuel cell powered race cars. Since 2007, five cars have been developed: ground breaking and successful, both technology - and performance-wise. The first support from Bürkert was only components. A proportional solenoid valve, a pressure sensor and a controller was installed in the Forze IV and function wise it worked well. But soon Forze was inspired by Bürkert to bring the solution to another level.

Johann Gunnesch, engineer at the Systemhaus of Bürkert Fluid Control Systems in Ingelfingen, develops such individual, highly specific system solutions for a wide range of applications requested by Bürkert customers throughout the world. The student team presented its flow plan for the fuel cell and explained the basic technical requirements.

New technology exceed limits

Johann Gunnesch explains the function of the so-called low pressure block: “Coming from the tank, the hydrogen first passes a shut-off valve. An integrated pressure relief valve has to release the hydrogen in the event of a malfunction. A Type 2875 solenoid control valve meters the hydrogen for the fuel cell by controlling the required pressure in the fuel cell.

A Type 8701 flow meter measures the supplied quantity of hydrogen and sends this data to the vehicle’s electronic control system. The pressure and temperature are likewise monitored constantly by sensors that send their readings to the controller to enable the fuel cell to operate under optimal conditions at all times. Furthermore, there is a Type 6011bleed valve, which can evacuate the entire system in case the vehicle is not driven.”

A new year, a new challenge

Already used to the ambitions of the Forze teams, with the Forze VI a new era for the automotive racing world has started. With a car based on a Lotus 7 Type frame the chief engineer has the challenge to implement a 100 kW Fuel Cell and 190 kW Boost Power. The car also needs two 74 litre hydrogen tanks at 350 bar to feed the stacks together with MassFlow meter up to 5,000 l/min air to provide enough oxygen. This was a challenge for Bürkert as well. “We integrated a new developed laminar flow element design to achieve the Forze VI requirements and with that still light weight and compact but at least 4 times as much capacity Johann Gunnesch says.”

Bürkert has designed the compact lightweight solution for Forze VI to achieve the Fuel Cell to power the 880 kg car from 0 - 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds and reach over 210 km/h. The only “emission” left behind in the environment is water.
 

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Energy storage including Fuel cells

 

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