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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Beneath the pores and skin of the cellular lab for hydrogen at Le Mans

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MissionH24’s aim is defined in its identify. The programme has been geared to develop hydrogen expertise for competitors within the Le Mans 24 Hours, and has come a good distance since its LMPH2G first appeared in a observe session for a Le Mans Cup race in 2019.

Reliability has been a serious focus for the programme, and GreenGT’s technical supervisor for motorsport Bassel Aslan is assured that efficiency will proceed to enhance quickly.

Whereas it nonetheless has some option to go to be usually beating the conventionally-propelled LMP3 and GT3 machines it faces off towards within the European Le Mans Sequence-supporting Le Mans Cup, the present H24 mannequin stays a useful testbed. This is how its cutting-edge expertise works.

Powertrain

GreenGT significantly simplified the powertrain on the H24

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

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The principle change from the first-generation LMPH2G to the present H24 involved the powertrain, which “was utterly changed”, Aslan explains. A much-simplified configuration now options two electrical motors as a substitute of the 4 used within the LMPH2G. These are powered by three hydrogen tanks to present the automobile enough vary.

The automobile doesn’t have a differential. Its motors energy the left and right-hand wheels independently, as Aslan explains: “They’re related to a very impartial gearbox for left and proper.”

A battery acts as a buffer to bolster the gas cell’s dynamic efficiency and get better braking power. Aslan says an necessary growth was achieved just lately to reinforce the battery’s thermal behaviour and improve its energy restrict to 350kW.

With all three tanks stuffed, the H24 has a variety of 45 minutes at full racing speeds.

Cooling and Packaging

Significant cooling is required to ensure the fuel cell and electronics don't overheat

Vital cooling is required to make sure the gas cell and electronics do not overheat

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Packaging the extra elements required to facilitate a hydrogen gas cell contained in the ADESS-03 EVO LMP3 chassis was “an actual problem”, explains Aslan. The three hydrogen tanks – positioned on both facet of and behind the driving force – mixed with the ancillaries concerned with the gas cell, motors and electronics powering it (to not point out the battery) imply there’s a vital requirement for cooling.

Though a gas cell system is extra environment friendly than a thermal engine, it’s not designed to be heated up in the identical means – “You don’t have exhaust gases getting out of it, like in an [ICE] engine evacuating a whole lot of warmth, so all this warmth will accumulate on this gas cell” – and could be broken if temperatures rise too steeply.

“The gas cell must be cooled, they want huge radiators that enter straight in battle with the aerodynamics,” says Aslan. The H24 additionally incorporates a devoted water air exchanger, used to chill air, which is necessary for the gas cell’s performance.

Provided that the side-mounted hydrogen tanks are uncovered to incidents, vigorous crash checks needed to be handed for the automobile to fulfill security requirements and “guarantee this can be a secure construction”, says Aslan: “Even in case of an accident they will survive as much as a sure stage with out being a hazard for the encircling marshals, the opposite folks across the circuit.”

The refinement within the powertrain has additionally helped liberate area and resulted in “a major weight discount” relative to the LMPH2G, and H24’s packaging will proceed to shrink because the programme matures. Gas cell system parts, explains Aslan, are “already getting smaller and extra compact”, permitting extra freedom to combine elements in a fashion befitting of optimum weight distribution and aerodynamics.

In-car controls

Richelmi has no clutch or gears inside the cockpit, making it a very different experience to drive

Richelmi has no clutch or gears contained in the cockpit, making it a really completely different expertise to drive

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

With no clutch and no gearshifting, the expertise contained in the cockpit for driver Stephane Richelmi differs significantly from standard prototypes. The chance for the driving force to manage the left and proper wheels independently is “a bonus now we have in our system”, believes Aslan.

“You possibly can think about all of the reflecting prospects of traction management, torque vectoring,” he says. “Even when in sure championships they’re banned, since we’re out of the classes and we’re one distinctive automobile for the second, we’re getting advantages of this and the goal is to enhance the efficiency.”

Operating in a particular ‘Innovation’ class outdoors the remit of standard LMP3 guidelines, the H24 managed lap occasions similar to GT3 vehicles within the Portimao Michelin Le Mans Cup race final yr. Richelmi can tune the traction management system to enhance energy distribution and stability over kerbs.

Chassis

The ADESS chassis has been saved commonplace “as a lot as we will, as a result of it’s not [part of] our added worth”, explains Aslan, though there have been some vital variations.

“With a very completely different system built-in you can not preserve it precisely the identical, so it’s modified to be tailored to our automobile,” he says. “However I might say now we have not invested a whole lot of growth there. It’s not our conflict to go on this path.”

Refuelling

The MissionH24 team has its own bespoke fuelling station built by TotalEnergies

The MissionH24 staff has its personal bespoke fuelling station constructed by TotalEnergies

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The H24 could be refilled in three minutes from a specifically developed station constructed by TotalEnergies. Retaining the stress (the hydrogen tanks are designed to deal with 700bar) and temperature below prescribed limits whereas sustaining a constant circulation price of hydrogen is a continuing problem.

“Whenever you press the hydrogen in these tanks you might be rising the temperature of the gasoline and there are limits that you shouldn’t exceed, in any other case you possibly can harm the tank,” Aslan says.

The TotalEnergies system makes security a prime precedence, with computerized procedures in place to cut back the circulation as wanted. Even when the fuelling system is engaged, Aslan explains, “not even a gram of hydrogen will exit earlier than you will have the lock of the plug giving a inexperienced mild to confirm that all the pieces is sealed and closed”.

Growing circulation charges throughout the thermal limits is a deliberate growth section that Aslan hopes will imply the H24 loses much less time within the pits: “We’re working with TotalEnergies on the best way to calm down the gasoline and this may assist so much to reinforce radically the time of refuelling and getting nearer and nearer to the refuelling of classical [ICE] vehicles.”

Stats

Drivetrain: Three hydrogen tanks, one gas cell system, two electrical motors
Peak Energy: 550kW
Tank capability: 8.6kg of hydrogen
Storage stress: 700bar
Weight: 1416kg
0-62mph: 3.4s

Fuelling is designed to be safe, first and foremost, but Aslan hopes it can improve speed too

Fuelling is designed to be secure, before everything, however Aslan hopes it might probably enhance velocity too

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images



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