After years of preparation, the GreenGT H2 will shortly meet its future competitors on June 3rd during a test day of the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours event. The first highly potential hydrogen-electric powered car will not participate in world’s most prestigious endurance race this year, but will race from August in the World Endurance Championship. What about the Le Mans ambitions? That goal has been set for 2013.

The Swiss based company – which has also its facility inside Le Castellet Circuit (France) – was selected in June 2011 by the French Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), as an innovative project. The developments of the car and its approval have cost about five million euros. But hey! It’s by far the most prestigious hydrogen-electric powered vehicle after the first Formula Zero races in 2008 and they go along with other ambitious projects like the Lola-Drayson and Formulec to prove that zero emission technology have serious potential in racing. GreenGT has, as one of the few, chosen for hydrogen.

Preferred option
As the autonomy of lithium/ion batteries was found to be the improvement with the most potential on GreenGT’s previous prototypes, hydrogen very quickly became the preferred option. In 2011, a 100 kW fuel cell that can be mounted in both competition and road cars was developed under GreenGT’s guidance. This fuel cell system has been tested and is now operational. Since then, GreenGT has begun the construction of a new high power fuel cell system that provides a linear power of 340kW, or 460Hp.

In parallel, a new lightweight twin-engine powertrain, providing up to 400kW or 540Hp, has been developed for this prototype. Control electronics and telemetry of the last generation will ensure the very best performance of the prototype on the track. The GreenGT H2 is expected to reach a speed close to 300km/h. With its fuel cell, the GreenGT H2 can run for 40 minutes.

To comply with FIA regulations and safety standards, a specific chassis has been designed. This was built for GreenGT by Gerard Welter & Vincent Soulignac, well known to Le Mans fans, in compliance with the new technical constraints required for GreenGT and its innovative concepts.

A twofold objective
GreenGT is pursuing a twofold objective: to point the way to the future of the electric/hydrogen motor and to benefit from experience for the series production of high power powertrains. “Car makers and petrochemical, gas and electricity distributors are all currently building new technical and more economic models. So this is an area with high growth potential thanks to the rapid improvements in manufacturing processes and materials, particularly polymers and metals”, the company states.

Ecological consequences, diminishing reserves and energy dependence are all intrinsic problems associated with fossil fuels. Hydrogen, instead, can be produced simply from water using solar panels, an electrolyzer and a compressor. “Hydrogen is therefore a truly independent, economic and ecological energy solution for most countries”, finds GreenGT.

Bringing skills together
The GreenGT team was formed in April 2008, under the leadership of Jean-François Weber, who had formerly been involved for many years in car racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours event. In particular, in 2005, he developed an electric propulsion system designed for competition cars. With the same enthusiasm, he now leads this great adventure working together with his team mates: Christopher Schwartz, a specialist in fuel cells, and two authentically visionary automobile enthusiasts, Stanislas de Sadeleer and Chris Ricard.

GreenGT developed a 200kW Le Mans prototype in 2009 and worked with Citroën to incorporate an electric powertrain for the Citroën Survolt. In 2011 a 300kW Le Mans racer was built and the company has helped various firms with integrating electric powertrains, battery packs and advice.

Specifications of the GreenGT H2:

Engine
Type: 2 three-phases permanent magnet synchronous motors.
Power: 2 x 170 kW, or 460 Hp DIN. RPM: 12.500 rev/min max.
Couple: 2.400 Nm aux roues.
Transmission
Mode: Direct drive without clutch to the rear wheels.
Type: GreenGT Patented electronic torque vectoring differential  box.
Fuel Cell
Type: 18 stacks. 340kW linear power. Experimental “high temperature” membrane. Optimized assembly with specific aviation-type lightweight elements. The elements are optimized for a minimum target of 500 hours. The air and hydrogen recycling control system as well as its cooling and its electronic control have been specially designed to allow the use of the fuel cell without a buffer battery.
Air supply: Two electric turbochargers
Hydrogen storage 2 x 160 litre tanks made of carbon fibre and aluminium. Quantity of hydrogen stored: about 4kg per tank (equivalent to 25 litres of petrol/gasoline), with an autonomy of about 40 minutes. 350 bar high-pressure tanks with a built-in pressure reducer inside the tanks, designed to meet industry standards. Their structure is capable of withstanding impacts three times greater than those of FIA approved single-body chassis. Because of approval issues, tank changing during the race has been chosen in preference to in-box refilling.
Chassis
Body: ACO/FIA approved double-body and crash box, made of carbon fiber composite.
Bodywork: Made of carbon fiber composite.
Suspensions: Double steel wishbone and push rods front and rear.
Brakes: Brembo calipers with carbon discs and pads.
Wheels: BBS, front 11×18,  rear 13×18.
Electronics Fully integrated module, based on racing type on-board CPU, to handle the complete   GreenGT drivetrain and allow « torque vectoring » to the driven wheels.
Dimensions
Length/Width/Height: 5150 x 2000 x n.c.
Consumption: 12,5 kg of H2 per hour (equivalent to 36 liters of petrol/gasoline)
Maximum speed About 300 km/h
Weight 1240 kg

About The Author

Tim is currently working in international motorsports and found his passion for sustainable racing by joining world's first competition for hydrogen electric vehicles in 2008. He does not doubt on the possibility of a break through of electric racing. And that deserves a platform to keep up to date and to interact. Tim operates on behalf of Formula Blue Media.

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