Hydrogen Car Innovation Hits the Track at Spa-Francorchamps

Hydrogen Car Innovation Hits the Track at Spa-Francorchamps

April 12, 2024 0 By Bret Williams

MissionH24 and Alpine Alpenglow Leading the Hydrogen Car Charge

The TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is poised to mark a technological milestone in auto-racing history on May 11, 2024. Two hydrogen race cars, one electric, the other with a combustion engine, are set to showcase the thrilling potential of clean energy on one of the world’s most storied racetracks.

Advanced Engineering in Alpenglow’s Hydrogen Racers

Alpenglow’s hydrogen-powered vehicles redefine the boundaries of high-speed engineering, embodying a harmonious blend of lightweight design and remarkable power. Central to their innovation are two cylindrical hydrogen tanks, each pressurized to 700 bar, which are seamlessly integrated into the vehicle’s structure. This not only maintains the vehicle’s minimal weight profile, consistent with Alpenglow’s design philosophy, but also strategically positions the driver at the core of this technological marvel.

Echoing the form and function of a water droplet, the vehicle’s design ingeniously incorporates two polymer pontoon hydrogen fuel tanks on either side of the cockpit. This design choice not only emphasizes the car’s driver-focused engineering philosophy but also integrates the tanks into the vehicle’s structure, enhancing both the aesthetic appeal and the performance efficiency.

Boasting a hydrogen combustion engine, Alpenglow’s racer achieves breathtaking performance metrics. Its capability to surge from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds, coupled with a top speed of 186 mph, positions it at the forefront of clean-energy racing innovation. This fusion of design ingenuity and performance excellence underscores the forward-thinking approach to leveraging clean hydrogen fuel, setting new standards for the future of motorsport and automotive technology.

Revolutionizing Racing: The Specs of MissionH24

MissionH24′s approach to hydrogen-powered innovation is set to redefine the standards of endurance racing. Planned to tip the scales at just 1300kg, this marvel of engineering is designed with performance and efficiency in mind. At its heart lies a formidable electric motor, capable of an impressive maximum power output of 650kW—an exponential increase from the previous 350kW seen in the H24. This leap in power does not come at the expense of weight, as the new setup is actually 18kg lighter, signaling a significant advancement in design efficiency.

The battery itself is a powerhouse, offering a maximum output of 400kW. Yet, it’s the vehicle’s revised Symbio hydrogen fuel cell system that truly showcases the next step in green technology. By incorporating next-generation multi-stack technology, it is expected to deliver a maximum power output of 300 kW. This system not only boasts a power density 50% greater than its predecessor used on the H24 but achieves this with remarkable efficiency. Consequently, MissionH24 requires only two hydrogen tanks, as opposed to the three found in the H24, a change that has optimized weight distribution significantly. Supplied by Plastic Omnium, each tank is designed to store 3.9 kg of hydrogen at 700 bars—increasing capacity from 2.866kg in the H24—while the total weight for the storage system is slashed by 116kg.

These advancements ensure that MissionH24 does not merely participate in races; it competes to win. With a top speed of 320km/h and the ambition to rank among the elite in the LMGT3 class, the MissionH24 stands as a testament to the forward-thinking innovation driving the future of motorsports towards a more sustainable horizon.

A Special Relationship with Spa Francorchamps

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit has a rich history with MissionH24. The LMPH2G, an earlier prototype, performed demonstration laps in 2023. The President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest Pierre Fillon, alongside Amaury Bertholomé, Director of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, highlighted the commitment to sustainable racing practices and the ongoing collaboration between these iconic motorsports entities.

A New Milestone in Racing Technology

Illustrating the race’s adaptability and openness to new technologies, this year’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will feature the H24 and Alpenglow running laps moments before the official start. Hydrogen-powered systems supplied by Symbio and a mobile H2 station, constructed by TotalEnergies, emphasize the innovative direction taken by the endurance race that thrives on a diversity of energy solutions.

Hydrogen Village and the Educational Drivehydrogen news ebook

Beyond the race itself, fans will have the opportunity to explore the Hydrogen Village in the fan zone, aimed at deepening their understanding of zero-emission racing. These educational endeavors show an intent not only to innovate but also to envelop audiences in the narrative of sustainable motorsports.

Historical Context and Enduring Legacy

Reflecting back, the Spa-Francorchamps track’s legacy began tentatively in 1921 with its first planned race. Since then it has grown to host the famous 24 Hours of Francorchamps and became part of the Grand Prix circuit. Now in 2024, it serves as a beacon of innovation, racing into the future with vehicles that promise performances and progress in equal measure.

Auto enthusiasts, green technology advocates, and followers of hydrogen car innovation are invited to witness this duel of hydrogen machinery — a contest of engineering artistry poised to set new standards for sustainability and performance in racing.

This blend of speed, strategy, and sustainable technology promises a gripping experience, proving that the motor sports industry remains at the forefront of innovative advances, burning rubber towards a cleaner, more efficient future.

More Images Image Credit: Alpine AlpHydrogen Car Racing with Alpenglowenglow

Alpine Alpenglow

Hydrogen Car Racing with Alpenglow

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