A Scottish team is gearing up to beat a record of more than 15,000 miles per gallon with its gho2ost fuel cell powered ecomarathon vehicle.

The team, from siGEN, fuel cell power solutions, has been working with students from Mackie Academy in Stonehaven to make improvements to the chassis design of their gh2ost 2 vehicle to reduce the rolling resistance.

The siGEN engineering team is now putting the fuel cell stack and hydrogen delivery system through bench trials in its laboratory. The fuel cell will put out just under 100W of power, which with the aerodynamics of the vehicle – the body shape was inspired by that of a dolphin – and low weight, will be sufficient to deliver speeds of up to 15 miles an hour.

siGEN's gh2ost 2 design has incorporated much of the experience learned during its gh2ost 1 project. This first vehicle was designed and built in conjunction with both the Robert Gordon University and the Mackie Academy.

The vehicle used a 1000 watt fuel cell which allowed the teams to gain considerable experience about the challenges of interfacing the fuel cell output to the power requirements of the vehicle electric motors.

Both gh2osts have been built using standard equipment and techniques that are readily available in schools and colleges.

And on August 20 at this year's Scottish round of the Shell Ecomarathon, the team will be setting out to beat the record of 15,148 miles per gallon, set earlier this year by the PAC-Car 2 at the Michelin Ladoux circuit in France in another hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle. The event will take place at Alford in Scotland and will provide an opportunity to test the ingenuity of both designers and constructors.

Many of the ideas featured in the eco cars often find their way into more serious commercial applications. The innovative products used for gh2ost will soon be available from siGEN, including: efficient fuel cell stacks from 50W to 500W, power management systems, metal hydride cylinders for hydrogen storage, hydrogen flow meters and a hydrogen system design guide.

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