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The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

By June 6, 2022 9   min read  (1307 words)

June 6, 2022 |

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

Without any doubt, the best place to have been on June 4th was in Assen, the Netherlands at the Bonte Wever Hotel where the 2021-2022 H2GP season was brought to a positive conclusion with a sprinkling of surprises!  Oakwood High School’s Pink team secured first place with its car completing over 1,300 laps in six hours!

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

Bonte Wever Hotel, Assen

The H2GP World Finals race is the annual pinnacle of the H2GP program where the teams that have demonstrated a high level of understanding of electronics, fuel cells, and vehicle design come together in one final endurance race to see which team has paired data, reason, and driving skills the best.  It is the only educational program globally that is preparing high school students for careers in advanced areas like battery and hydrogen fuel cell design, hydrogen handling and storage, and a multitude of other career paths.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

The Venue

The race on Saturday was attended by 15 teams from around the world, a large number of spectators, and quite a few VIPs.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

Left to Right, Paul de Groot, Craig Knight, Dick Huisman, and Kamil Jelinek

Early on in the race the United States Oakwood’s Pink and Blue teams along with Steam Legacy’s Steam2 team captured the top three spots, and they continued to defend them until the very last second of the race.  This enabled Oakwood’s Blue team to come in second and Steam2 team achieved third place.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

The Stage is Set

However, regardless of whether a team came in first place or last place one thing could not be doubted: every team was playing to win.  During the presentations on June 3rd when each team presented its car to the judges a number of different strategies were laid out in order to try and attain victory.  One common approach was the utilization of carbon fiber to maintain vehicle body strength without sacrificing performance.  The Automodel team from Bulgaria used a number of parts made out of aluminum to reinforce both bumpers and the front suspension, and it also cut a couple of slots in the body of the car to help keep the fuel cell cool.  The Werk team from Czechia employed multiple supercapacitors in order to try and create an even flow of electrons between the battery and the fuel cell.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

Breaking Out The Tool Boxes

The modifications to the vehicles did not end with the internal parts of the cars.  Almost every team took great care to design a car body that was visually appealing without compromising on other aspects, like aerodynamics.  It was no surprise to your correspondent when Ase Racers from Edison High School in California won the award for best design.  The Ase Racers designed their car (pictured below) to be visually appealing but also gave a friendly nod to the host country of the world finals.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

Edison High School’s “Starry Night” Car

While the race did have its fair share of vehicle accidents overall, the drivers largely took care to avoid hitting anything with their cars.  This resulted in no grim scenes like hydrogen storage sticks being dragged around the racetrack.  However, as the hours of the race passed more and more vehicles began to show signs of the wear and tear that nearly any vehicle endurance race takes on vehicles.  Still, with the lowest lap count at just above 450 it was evident that every team was able to keep its car on the track a majority of the race.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

Dick Huisman of Drenthe College Talks to a Member of the Media

As with any H2GP match, the teams brought with them the usual tools such as soldering kits and screw driver sets.  One new addition to the tool set was at least one air compressor to help clean out the vehicles of any debris that managed to get inside of them.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

Team [email protected] Presents Their Car to the Judges

This year’s world finals race was also attended by several VIPs, including Craig Knight who is the CEO of Hyzon Motors and Dick Huisman from Drenthe College.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

People, This is not Supposed to be Bumper Cars

One message that was communicated adamantly by students, sponsors, and others at the event was the value of the event for workforce development.  On the student side, during the vehicle presentations to the judges the use of multiple kinds of batteries, supercapacitors, and at least one team only using one Hydrostik meant that student’s electrical education during the season had expanded far beyond a simple understanding of what a fuel cell stack is.  The students from the world finals could easily hit the ground running if hired by an FCEV producer and similar firms, because they have foundational knowledge and skillsets that genuinely help to prepare them for a very bright future.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

The Race is About to Begin

During his speech Craig Knight made it clear that the H2GP program is leading students down a path that enables them to look forward to having successful careers at organizations making BEVs, FCEVs, or both.  Additionally, at the welcome dinner on June 2nd Assen Mayor Marco Out spoke about the value of the H2GP program getting young people ready for careers in the hydrogen and fuel cell industry.  The nature of the mayor’s speech was expected given that Assen and Groningen are cities both located in the northern part of the Netherlands, which is an area that is turning itself into a “Hydrogen Valley” to serve as a model for the rest of the EU.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

The Top Three Endurance Teams Take to the Podiums

Another area worth noting is that in more than one awards category multiple teams won the awards, which really confirms how much students are taking what they learn and then pushing the limits of what can be done even further.  Your correspondent was surprised that multiple teams qualified for the same awards, and that the top three endurance teams were from the United States simply added to that amazement.

Fuel Cells Works, The 2022 H2GP World Finals, the Definition of Epic

Oakwood’s Pink Team Showing off Their First Place Trophy

In a world where uncertainty and doubt are very easy to come by, the 2022 H2GP World Finals are a shining beacon to the significant role that hydrogen fuel cells can play in this world, and Saturday’s race was an unequivocal testament to the reality that if young people are educated and nurtured then the challenges they can overcome are virtually limitless.

While the 2021-2022 H2GP season is over your correspondent is eagerly looking forward to seeing the young people back in action during the 2022-2023 season!

For more information about the H2GP program click here.

The first three awards below were given out for the endurance portion of the race to the three teams with the highest lap count.  Additional awards were given to teams for areas like best pit stop and best car design.

First place: Oakwood Pink

Second Place: Oakwood Blue

Third Place: Steam Legacy Steam2

Energy: Oakwood Pink and Werk 1

Innovation: Ege Hydrofoxes

Design: Ase Racer

Pit Stop – Oakwood Pink and Blue

Presentation – Alfa Racing 2

 

About the Author
Jesse Lyon

Jesse Lyon, Contributor

Jesse Lyon is a hydrogen fuel cell thought leader and world-class essayist who is committed to helping bring a hydrogen economy to life imminently. His previous work involved ten published papers on the topics of cyber liability and technology E&O, plus one paper that introduced the insurance sector to robotic liability.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Fuel Cells Works, its directors, partners, staff, contributors, or suppliers. Any content provided by our contributors or authors are of their own opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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