The Nürburgring 24 Hours Race on 19th and 20th May 2013 will see the world premiere of a very special Aston Martin race car – the first hybrid hydrogen-powered race car to compete in an international motorsport event.
The Linde Group will be responsible for refuelling the car with hydrogen at the race track.
Linde has developed a mobile hydrogen refuelling unit, ideally suited for locations without a stationary hydrogen infrastructure. The 14 metre-long truck and trailer unit, the trailH2-gas™, is equipped with two separate high-pressure couplings for gaseous hydrogen (CGH2) and stores the gas at 300 and 450 bar in cylinder packs.
The trailH2-gas™ can further compress the hydrogen on-board to reach pressures of up to 700 bar, depending on requirements. For this project, however, a pressure of 350 bar is needed. For racing purposes, the usual automated refuelling procedure, which takes a few minutes, will be replaced by a manual, supervised refill, reducing the necessary stopover to less than a minute.
Markus Bachmeier, Head of Hydrogen Solutions at Linde, said, “With this event Linde shows that already today fuelling of hydrogen vehicles is not limited to pre-commercial passenger cars, busses and forklift trucks but is also feasible under the challenging requirements of an internationally renowned motorsport event.”
Together with clean drive technology experts Alset Global, headquartered in Graz, Austria, Aston Martin engineers have developed a hybrid hydrogen racing prototype, running on gasoline, CGH2 or a blend of both fuels. The hydrogen used at the Nürburgring 24 Hours Race will be sourced from Linde’s pilot plant in Leuna, Germany, where it is manufactured from raw glycerol, a by-product of biodiesel manufacturing.
Advanced to industrial scale, this production path has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 50 and 80 percent compared with conventional hydrogen production processes using natural gas. In addition, Linde is working together with partners to develop more renewable hydrogen production pathways such as water electrolysis using wind-generated electricity.
The flexible trailH2-gas™ fuelling concept means that hydrogen-powered cars can fill up at almost any location. Demand for trailH2-gas™ is high and it was successfully deployed, for example, at this year’s HANNOVER MESSE. But Linde is also helping to advance a stationary hydrogen infrastructure to support the introduction and commercialisation of mass-produced hydrogen-powered cars in the coming years.
Innovations such as the ionic compressor and the cryopump are already helping to make hydrogen refuelling ever more energy-efficient and user-friendly. So far, Linde has supplied the fuelling equipment for more than 80 hydrogen stations in 15 countries. The company also participates in an initiative organised by the German Ministry of Transportation to increase the number of public hydrogen fuelling stations in Germany to 50 by 2015.