Monday, March 27, 2023

Underneath the pores and skin of the cell lab for hydrogen at Le Mans

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MissionH24’s purpose 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 great distance since its LMPH2G first appeared in a apply session for a Le Mans Cup race in 2019.

Reliability has been a significant 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 approach to go to be often 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.


GreenGT significantly simplified the powertrain on the H24

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Photographs

The primary 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 an alternative of the 4 used within the LMPH2G. These are powered by three hydrogen tanks to provide the automotive adequate vary.

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

A battery acts as a buffer to bolster the gas cell’s dynamic efficiency and recuperate 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 spread of 45 minutes at full racing speeds.

Cooling and Packaging

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

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

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Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Photographs

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 aspect of and behind the motive 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 important requirement for cooling.

Though a gas cell system is extra environment friendly than a thermal engine, it isn’t 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 numerous 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 large radiators that enter immediately in battle with the aerodynamics,” says Aslan. The H24 additionally encompasses a devoted water air exchanger, used to chill air, which is necessary for the gas cell’s performance.

On condition that the side-mounted hydrogen tanks are uncovered to incidents, vigorous crash checks needed to be handed for the automotive to fulfill security requirements and “guarantee this can be a protected construction”, says Aslan: “Even in case of an accident they’ll 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 house and resulted in “a major weight discount” relative to the LMPH2G, and H24’s packaging will proceed to shrink because the programme matures. Gasoline cell system components, explains Aslan, are “already getting smaller and extra compact”, permitting extra freedom to combine elements in a way befitting of optimum weight distribution and aerodynamics.

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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 Photographs

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 motive force to regulate the left and proper wheels independently is “a bonus we now have in our system”, believes Aslan.

“You may think about all of the reflecting potentialities 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 automotive 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 corresponding 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.


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

“With a totally completely different system built-in you can’t hold it precisely the identical, so it’s modified to be tailored to our automotive,” he says. “However I’d say we now have not invested numerous growth there. It’s not our warfare to go on this path.”


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

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

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Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Photographs

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

“While 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 injury the tank,” Aslan says.

The TotalEnergies system makes security a prime precedence, with automated procedures in place to scale 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 may have the lock of the plug giving a inexperienced gentle to confirm that the whole lot is sealed and closed”.

Growing circulation charges inside 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 right way to calm down the gasoline and it will assist loads to reinforce radically the time of refuelling and getting nearer and nearer to the refuelling of classical [ICE] vehicles.”


Drivetrain: Three hydrogen tanks, one gas cell system, two electrical motors
Peak Energy: 550kW
Tank capability: 8.6kg of hydrogen
Storage strain: 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 protected, initially, however Aslan hopes it will possibly enhance velocity too

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Photographs


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