August 26, 2008
International Teams Compete in “˜Formula Zero’ Race
The so-called Formula Zero motor sport race took place in Rotterdam this weekend, marking the world's first hydrogen-powered race.
Teams representing five countries competed against each other in a zero-emissions race with go-karts powered by a commercial fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electricity.
Teams from the UK, US, the Netherlands, Spain, and Belgium took part in several events.
A Greenchoice Forze team from Delft University took the zeroth place, while Spanish team EuplatecH2 won the award for fastest lap (36 seconds) in the sprint race.
In third place was Imperial College London's team Imperial Racing Green, who proved to have the most reliable entry if not eventually the fastest.
"In 10 years if the motor sport industry as a whole hasn't engaged in zero or low emission principles, it probably won't be around," said Greg Offer, who headed up the Imperial team. "Teams that embrace this new technology early on will succeed, and those that don't will fall by the wayside."
Dr. Offer says that fuel cell powered vehicles don't represent a compromise in performance over traditional petrol-fuelled engines.
"With a combustion engine, you have to reach three or four thousand rev[olutions per minute] to get your peak power," he says. "With an electric vehicle, it's all there from standing, and they're more efficient."
The next event will be held in the US in March. In 2009 the Formula Zero championship will comprise four races.
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F©d©ration Internationale de l'Automobile
Imperial Racing Green