In a striking display of the potential for renewable energy in transportation, a student team from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) has made a significant mark with their Eco-Runner project. The team has set a new Guinness World Record for the greatest distance driven by a car on full tanks of hydrogen fuel with a prototype vehicle, beating all previous records and demonstrating the potential of hydrogen as a fuel source for vehicles.
The Eco-Runner project has a rich history, dating back to its inception in 2005. Starting off with the three-wheeled Eco 1, the team quickly established a reputation for their focus on energy efficiency. This was illustrated in 2006 when they secured a place in the top five at the Shell Eco-marathon with the Eco 1’s impressive performance of 557 km/liter of petrol.
However, the team soon shifted their focus to hydrogen as a fuel source. The resultant vehicle, a bullet-shaped model, operated through an electrochemical reaction. Hydrogen gas (H2) was routed from a storage tank to a fuel cell, which in turn produced an electric current. The only waste produced by this process was water. This iteration set the Dutch fuel-efficiency record with an equivalent efficiency of 2,282 km/liter of petrol.
Over the years, the team continued to refine and improve their designs. In 2020, the team presented their first urban class concept. Although it retained the three-wheeled design, the length of the vehicle was significantly reduced. The next iteration added a fourth wheel and achieved a non-stop travel distance of 1,195.74 km on a single tank of hydrogen over 36 hours. This achievement led to a first-place finish in the Hydrogen Efficiency Challenge.
However, the 2023 team was determined to set a new distance record. They redesigned the vehicle with a focus on robustness, aerodynamics, and weight-saving. This new vehicle, the Eco-Runner XIII, was introduced in May, and a subsequent record attempt was conducted at the Immendingen test track in Germany.
The record-breaking drive commenced on June 23rd, after the vehicle underwent testing the previous day. Traveling at 45 km/h, almost double the speed of the previous year’s model, the vehicle broke the existing record of 2,056 km on the following Sunday. Even after surpassing this record, the vehicle continued to run until it finally stopped on June 26th at 8:26 am.
The Eco-Runner XIII managed to cover an impressive distance of 2,488.5 km (1,546.28 miles) on just 950 grams of hydrogen, thereby setting a new Guinness World Record.
These remarkable achievements represent a significant step forward in the field of renewable energy transportation. The Eco-Runner team has successfully demonstrated the potential of hydrogen as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels, and with further research and development, this technology could play a critical role in the transition to more sustainable modes of transportation. With this record, the next team now has a clear target to surpass, and it will be exciting to see how this innovative project continues to evolve in the years to come.
Source: Eco-Runner Team Delft