All eyes on hydrogen: AFC Vitality know-how charged Excessive E’s inaugural race – and now it’s on the centre of worldwide motorsport
When Rosberg X Racing duo Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor crossed the end line of Excessive E’s first race within the Saudi Arabian desert earlier this month, they did so in a automobile charged by a hydrogen-powered generator. And for AFC Vitality’s Adam Bond, it was considered one of his proudest moments because the UK firm’s Chief Government.
It was AFC Vitality that designed and engineered the hydrogen gasoline cell generator utilized by Excessive E to remotely cost the race fleet utilizing zero-emission vitality, marking a revolutionary first in worldwide motorsport. With an estimated 200 million individuals watching worldwide, Bond was there in individual to look at Rosberg X Racing take the chequered flag in Excessive E’s inaugural Desert X-Prix in AlUla. H2 View caught up with Bond earlier this week to learn how it went.
What was it prefer to be there on web site in Saudi Arabia?
Adam Bond (AB): With an estimated 200 million individuals watching worldwide, the Excessive E all-electric, offroad racing collection has captured the creativeness of many motorsport fans all while highlighting the challenges our world is dealing with in gentle of the rising influence of local weather change. It’s secure to say the weekend had every little thing, from its spectacular backdrop, unimaginable racing and heart-stopping rolls and crashes. Enormous congratulations to Rosberg X Racing for taking the chequered flag.
As we’ve mentioned earlier than, AFC Vitality teamed up with Excessive E to showcase to a world viewers how hydrogen can be utilized as a viable various to soiled diesel. Do you assume this has been achieved through the first race? What sort of publicity was hydrogen given?
AB: Excessive E has given us a world platform to efficiently showcase the probabilities hydrogen energy mills can play in entrance of an unlimited worldwide broadcast viewers, bodily demonstrating how our know-how can change diesel for momentary and offgrid energy functions.
Our work on the first race attracted vital curiosity, not solely from the host nation, Saudi Arabia, which is about to be one of many world’s hydrogen powerhouses, but in addition from various potential companions and clients which can be starting to understand the advantages alkaline gasoline cells can play in distant energy environments. In fact, the sheer quantity of protection the race obtained worldwide has definitely enhanced public consciousness and understanding of wider local weather points and importantly, the more and more mainstream function hydrogen can play in combatting such points. This can solely develop because the collection strikes onto different races.
And AFC Vitality designed the hydrogen gasoline cell generator which allowed Excessive E to remotely cost its race fleet utilizing zero emission vitality. What was it like working this in such a harsh atmosphere? Any challenges, learnings you’ll be able to share?
AB: The most important problem for us in designing this method for Excessive E is the huge and excessive weather conditions we’d be anticipated to function. Clearly working in unforgiving 44°C warmth throughout every of the 4 days was a literal baptism of fireside! We definitely gained numerous studying and operational knowledge from working in such a harsh atmosphere, however in the end we proved that the know-how works in difficult weather conditions. We eagerly sit up for powering the subsequent race in Senegal on the finish of Could earlier than shifting to the arctic circumstances of Greenland.
Other than the intense climates to be encountered, to compete head on with the diesel generator which has been used for a lot of a long time because the “go to” offgrid energy know-how, our system wanted to face as much as the challenges of cargo and fast logistically arrange and demobilisation.
Something you’re going to alter for the subsequent race(s)?
AB: Our engineering crew has already completely inspected the system and with the information we now have on the subject of the system and the way it operated in distant areas, we’re all about continuous growth and figuring out methods of constructing the transition from diesel mills to hydrogen gasoline cell as straightforward as potential. The system is being reloaded again onto Excessive E’s ship, the St Helena, en path to Senegal for subsequent month’s race, however within the interim, we’re persevering with to conduct our post-race evaluation to make sure any enhancements might be made forward of its use in Senegal. The identical system shall be used all through the 2021 collection.
Have you ever had any curiosity from some other race championships or related to make use of this know-how?
AB: It is a world first sporting deployment so naturally we’ve had numerous curiosity from various different sporting disciplines. Motorsport is an apparent place to start, nevertheless because the inception of Method E, how autos are powered is now a fabric consideration for collection’ around the globe. I feel there was a realisation that with the expansion of hybrid and EV transportation, there must be additional retailers to showcase the know-how on and off the monitor. Excessive E has responded to that problem and I feel it’ll encourage different sporting occasions to comply with swimsuit.
As Excessive E has confirmed, we’re not beheld to the diesel generator and so it’s now incumbent that each one momentary energy and sporting occasions think about their carbon footprint in the case of electrification of sports activities around the globe.
AFC Vitality additionally inked a take care of Altaaqa – what a spectacular place to do this! What you’ll be able to you inform us about this MoU? What does this imply for the hydrogen market?
AB: On the Thursday previous to the primary spherical of Excessive E, we have been delighted to welcome the Zahid Group and Altaaqa to the positioning to witness our energy generator first-hand, and to signal our first MoU in Saudi Arabia with one of many world’s largest suppliers of momentary energy options. The momentum is rising in the way in which momentary energy suppliers and extra importantly, their purchasers, are searching for to drive business in direction of a extra sustainable future.
Our MoU with Altaaqa, a wholly-owned member of the Zahid Group primarily based in Jeddah, highlights the dedication each corporations have in offering a sustainable momentary energy market in Saudi Arabia – a key marketplace for the hydrogen sector given its emphasis on massive scale manufacturing of inexperienced hydrogen and inexperienced ammonia. The goal of the MoU is to supply the premise for development in direction of an unique dealership settlement throughout Saudi and the broader Center East & North Africa area.
We’re completely delighted to be commencing this strategic partnership with our mates at Altaaqa and imagine this might create an actual catalyst for the broader hydrogen sector as its function within the decarbonisation of stationary energy continues to indicate actual potential in supporting our worldwide transition to internet zero.
Excessive E: A brand new period of motorsport
Excessive E’s founder and CEO Alejandro Agag isn’t any stranger to electrifying race automobiles having additionally established Method E, an all-electric avenue racing collection. What began as nothing greater than a shared dream between Agag and FIA President Jean Todt, famous on the again of a serviette again in 2011, Method E has developed into the quickest rising motorsport collection on the plant.
“Following the success of Method E, I wished to take our electrical mission one step additional and spotlight the local weather emergency – one of many largest challenges the world is dealing with – by an thrilling new motorsport,” Agag solely defined to H2 View.
It was in late 2018 and when Agag met for breakfast with motor racing legend and good buddy Gil de Ferran that the pair dreamt up the thought for Excessive E over espresso. Impressed by the documentaries of French explorer Jacques Cousteau, Agag set the wheels in movement. By January 2019, the crew launched Excessive E aboard the collection’ distinctive floating paddock – St. Helena – its modern-day ‘Calypso’.
Subsequent got here the collection’ revolutionary electrical SUV, Odyssey 21 – a 400kw (550hp), 1650-kilogram, 2.3-metre broad beast able to firing from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, at gradients of as much as 130%. The revolutionary E-SUV was turned from drawing to actuality by Spark Racing Know-how in beneath two months – prepared for its maiden public run, up the famed hill-climb at The Goodwood Pageant of Pace in summer time 2019.
Learn the complete interview with Alejandro Agag here.