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Recap competition day two:

Most of you already know that we never got to do a valid run on the track. It was disappointing that we never got to show how good our car is on the track! Especially knowing that the one round we managed to drive was quite good! We got up the hill with no issues and it was showing good speed and all seemed to be well. But as we told you earlier the car gave out warnings about the electrical system so Sivert, our driver decided to terminate the run after that lap.  

All week we have worked nonstop to improve and fix everything that went wrong during testing, it is expected that a car will have components that fail during testing, the gap between theory and reality is quite huge and only testing can eliminate the growing pains from the car. Which meant that in the end we just have to accept that even if we have a well built car it was quite ambitious to not only build and design a new car in just eight months, while also changing the fuel source from hydrogen to batteries. We did work on the car up until the very last moment, and we won’t stop working on it even if the 2017 Shell Eco-marathon is over for our part.  

We are so proud of our little car and all the work that went into it. We have worked long hours for the entire school year and even longer this week to get everything designed, built and improved. We almost managed it, but we barely did any testing with the car to find any issues it might have, so the aforementioned growing pains showed up en masse during this week. We knew that going to London with an almost finished car without having tested it much meant that it would take a miracle to get it through technical inspection! Then another miracle to get it ready for the competition. We managed to get one miracle thanks to every member of the team not giving up on and working on the car from early morning until late night, all week! 

Technical inspection was such an confident boost for the entire team, we was told over and over again how good our car was, how well we had done both the mechanical and electrical components in the car. Our design was also complemented for being good. Quite a few people couldn’t believe how much we had achieved in such a short time! So we really believed that we could get the car across the finish line, and we still believe that the car is able to do so, we just needed a bit more time.  

A big thank you from everyone in the team each and everyone for the support this year! Especially DNV GL for being the best main sponsor a team could have! But also off course to Shell for organising the Shell Eco-Marathon and to all the other teams for being such a nice bunch of people! So even if we never got the car race ready, we learnt so much and we will go home with experiences and knowledge we would never want to not have. Just you guys wait to see us next year! Our little blue car and the DNV GL Fuel Fighter team will be in the competition for sure!

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Competition day one of two: 

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Competition day one of two: 

After getting our car through the technical inspection yesterday, we had an early start this morning to work on the car to make it ready for the race. Which meant that bright and early the team went to the track to start working and we got the car on the track for the first time this week!

We hoped that finally everything would be working smoothly for us, but as it often is in motorcading, it didn’t. Our car started and everything seemed fine until our driver, Sivert started driving it and he didn’t get far before he decided to stop the car on the track. The reason for this is that it was making strange sounds, and as it shouldn’t, something was clearly wrong, and trying to drive could end up damaging the car even further.

When we got the car back into the garage we immediately started to investigate the issue to find it, and after a short while we figured out that a part connected to one of our wheels where slightly loose so the sound was coming from it moving around. We are quite grateful that Siverts quick thinking probably saved the car from getting any damage! 

Our mechanical group got working on it straight away and in just two hours they managed to get everything back in working order and we were ready to get the car out on the test track to try it there. This time our reserve driver, Anne-Maren was driving the car, and as you can see on our Instagram the car was looking to be in working order. After a couple of runs on the test track we just had enough time to get the car to the second run of the competition, again we got the car over the line just in time and it worked! The car climbed the hill with no issues, the speed was good and it was looking to be doing quite well on the track! Or it was until warning lights showed up on the dash. This time about the electrical system not working quite right, so Sivert, who was behind the wheel, drove the car back into the pits, ending our second run after just one lap. 

It seems that the car is working fine, it just needed to be tweaked and fine tuned here and there, so both the electrical and mechanical groups are working hard in the garage making sure everything is perfect for the two runs tomorrow! 

We are quite confident in our car’s ability, and the car will be ready to start the race tomorrow. All we can do is our best to double check everything, and off course cross our fingers and hope to the gods of engineering that nothing more will go wrong tomorrow! 

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DNV GL Fuel Fighter goes to London!

Facts:

Track Length: 1,5 km

Total attempts: 4 times

One attempt is 10 rounds and about 15 km. 

 

After what has been the most hectic couple of days the team has ever had, our car is finally cleared for the track! 

We knew there was a bit of work left mostly for our electrical group, but we couldn’t imagine how much work it would end up being. There was a plan, and we knew what had to be done and that we had time before we had to get through the Technical Inspection, but as it tends to be it wasn’t that simple… So in the last couple of days it has felt that if something could go wrong, it did go wrong and off course everything has to be perfect on the car! It wasn’t anything major that was wrong, it’s been mostly small things here and there had to be fixed, but it all takes hours upon hours of work to complete. Which means that there has been some very, very long days working to get everything perfect in time. To be perfectly honest at some point today we weren’t sure that we could finish everything in time, but we did! Especially thanks to the boys in our electrical group You wouldn’t believe how hard they have worked the last couple of days to get everything ready, they have managed to create miracles and we are so fortunate to have them on our team! So because of that and off course the hard work of every member of this team, our car passed every station in the Technical Inspection with flying colours!

We got so many nice comments from the technical inspectors! We are especially proud about the fact that they told us that our brakes were some of the best ones they had seen! 

Off course it's not just the car that has to pass the Technical Inspection, but both our drivers had to pass too! They both where quite nervous about getting out of the car in 10 seconds or less, but they needn’t have worried, because they did! So both the car and both our drivers are ready for the race tomorrow!

Before we here at DNV GL Fuel Fighter get's a couple of hours of sleep, let us look back about a week when car arrived in London. Two of our team members drove it all the way from Norway and across Europe and into London, arriving late Saturday and they along with our project and technical managers joined them on Sunday to get our car into the garage. And the rest of us arrived Monday and Tuesday by plane. Going from the rainy cold of Trondheim and to the sun and heat here in London was quite a shock, mostly because we didn’t think the weather would be this warm so we weren't really prepared for it. Next year we will bring team t-shirts! 

All of us have been looking forward to this week for almost a year, we have worked hard building and designing our car and we love it to bits. Our car is a labour of love, you can’t spend so many hours every week working on something and not love what you do!

And with that, goodnight from us here at DNV GL Fuel Fighter, remember to follow us on Instagram for picture updates from London and Facebook for a live stream of the race tomorrow!

 

 

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Production of monocoque at Eker Design and at HPC

As we have started production of this years car, we thought it would be interesting to show you how our monocoque is made. Here you can read about parts of the process of making a car in carbon fibre. We have been fortunate to have being sponsored by Eker Design and by High Performance Composites (HPC), both located in the Fredrikstad area.


We have used negative moulds to make our car. They were made by Eker Design and CNC-milled from our CAD-model. The process starts with milling the shape of our car slightly to big into our blocks. These moulds are then covered by an epoxy paste. When the paste has hardened, there is a new round of milling. This is the fine milling where the moulds get the exact dimensions. We would like to thank Eker Design for their help.

Initial milling

Milling the epoxy paste

When the moulds had been milled, they were transported to HPC and coated. Four team members and one apprentice from NTNU travelled to HPC’s facility to make the car parts in carbon fibre. Here we were guided by Paal, the owner of HPC, through the process. We would like to thank HPC for helping us with their expertise and equipment! We here at DNV GL Fuel Fighter are very grateful that they have decided to sponsor us! With their help we are sure we will do even better in London this May!

Consulting with Paal, and layup of carbon fibre.

Vacuum infusion

We now have the parts back in Trondheim. There is yet some work to do with grinding, cutting excess carbon fibre and assembly of the pieces. We will now finish the monocoque, in parallel to producing other parts, in the time to come. It is an exciting time for us and we look forward to revealing our car to you.

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Different, but similar, the team reflects upon why we joined DNV GL Fuel Fighter

There are quite a few reasons to why someone would decide to spend x hours a week working to build a car without being paid for it. All of us here at DNV GL Fuel Fighter have a full workload at school and with other activities, but we prioritize to work on this project, so this week we thought we would tell you about some of them.

All of us are concerned with the environmental challenges we are facing in the future, but that is of course not the only reason to why someone would be in this team. If it is to get the hands on experience of building and competing in a car race. Get experience working as a team and real-life hands on experience which we can use later. Then off course we also get to know a lot of new people and bond across fields of studies, and we are even lucky enough to have exchange students joining us too!

So let's look closer at some of the individuals who make up the team and why they joined. First up is Amund joined the team right after Christmas and he is here to use his experience from last year to make this year’s car even better. Josefine wants to get some more hands-on experience in Product Development as that is her field of study.

Which is also a part of why Mirko joined the team. He is also part of the exchange student program here at NTNU from Switzerland. He is also quite happy with the fact that he can improve his Norwegian. Also, there are some of us like Renate who is part of the PR and Marketing team, who joined because working in marketing of motorsport is what she wants to do when she is done studying here at NTNU. 

As you can see we all have our own unique reasons for joining DNV GL Fuel Fighter, but we all have one common goal: Doing our very best to achieve the best possible results at the Shell Eco-Marathon!

I’ve been doing a lot of activities that haven’t had anything to do with what I’m studying. This time I wanted to do something that was relevant, and building a car would give me experience way beyond what we get in lectures. - Josefine

I’ve been doing a lot of activities that haven’t had anything to do with what I’m studying. This time I wanted to do something that was relevant, and building a car would give me experience way beyond what we get in lectures. - Josefine

Last year was a lot of fun and that’s why I applied again. I am hoping my experience will avoid past mistakes, and give us a stronger finish this year than last! - Amund

Last year was a lot of fun and that’s why I applied again. I am hoping my experience will avoid past mistakes, and give us a stronger finish this year than last! - Amund

The reckless use of petroleum has given us an impression that energy is something we can tap from a bottomless well, while in reality it really is a scarce resource. If we are to have enough energy for everyone in the future, without impacting the environment in a bad way – as well as being able to buy it at a fair price – we need to lower our energy consumption. - Odin

The reckless use of petroleum has given us an impression that energy is something we can tap from a bottomless well, while in reality it really is a scarce resource. If we are to have enough energy for everyone in the future, without impacting the environment in a bad way – as well as being able to buy it at a fair price – we need to lower our energy consumption. - Odin

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Battery or Hydrogen, that’s the question

People who have followed us for the last ten years know that we’ve been using hydrogen fuel cells for most of the Shell-Eco Marathon competitions we have attended. So when we decided to switch over to battery for this years race it wasn’t without discussions and careful weighing of our options. So today we are sharing some of these reasons with you.

It is a quite agreed upon truth that we can’t continue using fossil fuels in the future, and to stop using them we need alternatives preferably using clean and renewable energy sources. This is why we have competitions like the Shell Eco-Marathon and also why we here at  DNV-GL Fuel Fighter is participating in it. We are taught from day one here at NTNU that we are creating knowledge for a better world and we think this is a fitting description both on higher education, but also for this project and the Shell Eco-Marathon. We are trying to create a better world and it is based on this we changed from hydrogen to battery.

Hydrogen fuel cells aren’t inherently bad, there is a reason to why our team have used it for so long, and those reasons aren’t any less valid even if we changed our approach. We discussed it back and forth for hours upon hours and both choices are valid so then the question is why did we decide to change?

An important difference between the technologies is their efficiency. From electricity is produced, there is an energy loss in i.e. the power grid before the it reaches the motors. But this is far less for batteries than for hydrogen fuel cells, where it takes energy to produce the hydrogen and then the fuel cells themselves have an efficiency of 40-60%. The sum gives a greater conservation of energy using batteries. A major benefit of hydrogen fuel cells compared to batteries, is the significantly shorter refueling/charging time. As we compete in the UrbanConcept class, the car is designed to be used in an urban environment. Shorter distances and more possibilities to recharge reduces the problem of a charging taking a long time. Hydrogen fuel cells may be used in heavier vehicles though. Buses and trailers would need a number of batteries which adds a significant weight. They also may travel distances where refueling time is an issue. As the battery technology is rapidly advancing, we believe that it is the future for personal vehicles.

Competing in the UrbanConcept class at the Shell Eco-Marathon means building cars that looks more and runs on the same fuel options that cars on the roads do today. We are all at the Shell Eco-marathon to be innovators and ambassadors for cleaner and more fuel efficient transport options. Choosing to compete in the UrbanConcept class means that we have to think about what we believe is the best option for the road cars of the future. And we here at the DNV GL Fuel Fighter team believe that the future is electric road cars! What do you think?

 

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Another day another workshop

 

Last Saturday we had one of our workshops, this time to both work on risk assessment and welcome our new team members! As the competition is only three months away, we know that there might be a lot of things that could go wrong before everything is all set to go to London. To ensure that we will see the finish line at the Shell Eco Marathon this Summer, we used the workshop to focus on identifying risks.

When we have our workshops we aren't only focused on what we have to do before London, but also on our team spirit! So for us students (and most people we imagine) what could be better than ordering pizza and eating together to make that happen?

After a day of working, coming up with new ideas and eating pizza to make us into an even stronger team for the track, we went out to have some fun to work on friendship as we here at DNV GL Fuel Fighter believe that it isn’t only important that we work together well as a team, but also build friendships that will hopefully last longer than this project!

All in all it was a successful workshop, both practically and on a more personal level, we are all already looking forward to the next time we get together as a team!

 

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