In the newsletter of March, we aim to update you on this month’s developments of the Eco-Runner project and we will present to you our approach concerning the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
We from Eco-Runner Team Delft would first and above all like to express our support towards our partners. The recent measures of our government to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus have major consequences for society and our economy. We hope that you and your employees are safe and healthy and that your company is handling the outbreak well.
Concerning the competition
On the 16th of March Shell published their decision to cancel the Shell Eco-marathon competition 2020 due to take place in London from June 29 to July 3, 2020. Shell informed us that they are actively considering ways in which they can honor the work the teams have completed over the past year. The cancellation of the Shell Eco-marathon competition, however, does not result in a loss of our team members’ motivation. It rather urges Eco-Runner Team Delft to adjust its set goal. The management of Eco-Runner Team Delft has therefore started the organisation of a new, small-scale competition set to take place from June 29 to July 3, 2020, called “Hydrogen Endurance Race 2020” in The Netherlands. This competition will take place only if the Dutch government allows us to and if we see circumstances fit. The competition will consist of a hydrogen endurance race between the best-performing participants of the SEM 2019 hydrogen category: Green Team Twente, HAN Hydromotive and us, Eco-Runner Team Delft. Our new goal has therefore become to outperform the top-performing SEM 2019 competitors at the Hydrogen Endurance Race 2020.
Our approach concerning the outbreak
On the 16th of March, the Delft University of Technology announced that the D:DREAM Hall was set to close on the 20th of March, a measure taken by its executive board to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In order to not be further reliant on the university’s reopening of the D:DREAM Hall, we took the decision to move our workplace and the Eco-Runner X to a different workplace. This decision was taken in order to have the ability to resume production as soon as circumstances around the pandemic improve. Since at Eco-Runner Team Delft health and safety is a top priority, we have decided to put the production of the Eco-Runner X on hold until further notice. We believe it is our social responsibility to take all necessary measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
We are, however, a dream team. No setback holds us down. Our engineers aim to finalise the production of our self-built hydrogen-powered vehicle soon. We aim to make our partners, family and friends proud by handling the situation to the best of our ability, taking all the precautions needed during these times of uncertainty.
At the beginning of March, our focus was to finalise the production of the Eco-Runner X. After the lamination of the vehicle’s body by our production engineers, our partner KVE took the effort to cure the different parts in their oven while making sure the body maintains the desired properties. Once the different parts arrived back in the D:DREAM Hall, our engineers worked hard on assembling the body of the vehicle. Due to our engineers’ dedication and hard work we have now finalised the production of the car’s body, including the newly installed windows and safety belts. The steering system has a perfect fit and works as desired.
We also received the in-wheel electromotor from our partner Advanced Electromagnetics (AE Group). The motor plays a crucial role in the vehicle’s powertrain, as it converts electrical energy into kinetic energy which drives the Eco-Runner X forward. The motor will be tested thoroughly at a later stage, making sure it meets all efficiency and safety requirements. We thank AE Group for another great year of collaboration!
The next production goal is to assemble the rest of the Eco-Runner X by integrating the powertrain, the braking system, suspension, wheels and electronics into the body of the vehicle.
Apart from the hard work our engineers have conducted this month, different events were organised and attended by our operations department. We hosted several interest events for the recruitment of next year’s Eco-Runner Team, which were attended by many students. We were very glad to see the students’ ambition to join next year’s Eco-Runner team.
We also went karting with the entire team to put our driving skills to the test. The newly recruited driver for the SEM 2020, Jessy, did not win the race, but luckily for us our competition is not focused on speed but on efficiency. Following the karting session drinks took place in the Delft centre. It was a fun afternoon of team building.
Our operations department also attended two open days of the Delft University of Technology where we exhibited our past Eco-Runner vehicles. The open days were organised for pre-university students to delve into the bachelor programs they are interested in studying next year. The high school students asked us some interesting questions and viewed the Eco-Runner project from a whole different perspective than what we are used to. This aspect made these events, hosted by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science and the Faculty of Applied Sciences, very pleasant for us to attend.
Lockdown suppresses European air pollution
The strong measures taken to fight the spread of the coronavirus have positive side effects on air pollution. The lockdown of most European countries has led to a strong reduction of work traffic, air traffic and industrial activities. The number of vehicles during rush hour on the Amsterdam ring road, for example, had halved on March 17, the day after the Dutch government had announced its first measures.
The Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) has used Dutch satellites to observe the concentrations of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the European air. As can be seen in the pictures, nitrogen dioxide concentrations are much lower this year compared to last year. The two diagrams were made in the same period of the year, on days with comparable weather conditions.
These figures show how less emission has a positive effect on air pollution. Industrial and mobility sectors are working on promising alternatives to fossil fuels. These diagrams again emphasize the importance of the transition to emission-free fuels, such as hydrogen. Read more.
Japan opens world’s largest green hydrogen plant
The hydrogen plant is situated in Fukushima, near the site of the nuclear disaster of 2011. The hydrogen plant makes use of 18.000 km2 of solar arrays, that are able to produce 20 MW. The electrolyser fed by the solar arrays is able to produce up to 100 kg of hydrogen per hour! Read more on the world’s largest power plant.
Produce hydrogen from manure
The German company Graforce is deepening into new ways of producing hydrogen. They have found a promising alternative for electrolysis. The new technology is able to produce green hydrogen from animal manure, without emitting CO2. The new technology is promised to be inexpensive and highly efficient. Will this be the new breakthrough? Read more on this alternative for electrolysis.