Green Team: On the way to London #1

| Michaela Nesvarova

Hundreds of student teams and hundreds of innovative cars, but only one chance to win. That is the Shell Eco Marathon, the biggest eco race in Europe. The Green Team Twente is ready for the challenge. This week they will enter their new hydrogen car H2∞ in the Shell Eco Marathon (SEM) in London with the hopes of scoring one of the top three spots.

Photo by: Jellien Tigelaar

Yes, you might already know that the Green Team is a student team at the University of Twente dedicated to building a fuel-efficient hydrogen car, but who are its team members? What are their tasks? What do they expect from participating in one of the world’s biggest car races and how are they preparing for it? We wanted to know what and who it takes to build a car of the future.

 

Sevim Aktas

'Hydrogen is a big part of progress' 

Studies: Advanced Technology

Green Team position: Head of Strategy and Race Leader

Role in the Green Team

‘I lead the Strategy Team, which is a completely new addition to the Green Team. My job means I have to be fully aware of how the car behaves on a track, what functions it has and how we can use them in the most efficient way. This requires me to be involved in many technical tasks.’

Shell Eco Marathon

‘Right now before the race, a lot of measurements and tests need to be done. We have to simulate the conditions of the race as well as we possibly can. I need to gather all input - from our technicians, the driver, the strategy team and so on – in order to form a good strategy plan for the race. As the Race Leader, I will be on the track during the marathon. I will be in charge of the track inspection and advising the driver – which we can also do while driving thanks to our newly installed CAN-OtA. I expect SEM will be hard work, but we will work as one family with one vision.’

What makes the Green Team different

‘Being on the team exceeded all my expectations. I’ve gained so much new experience and I’ve gained a new family. It’s crazy! We literally have a car that drives on hydrogen. And hydrogen is a big part of progress – and we are a part of that. We can enlighten others and share that hydrogen is the sustainable energy source of the future.’ 

 

Bram de la Combé

'Being on a student team is one of the most challenging things you can do' 

Studies: Industrial Engineering and Management

Green Team position: Finance and Operation Manager, External Relations

Role in the Green Team

‘As a person in charge of external relations and financing, I was immediately one of the busiest team members. The pressure is on immediately at the beginning of the project. Next to keeping in touch with existing partners, I also had to look for new ones which could provide us with financial support and materials and tools. My goal has been to find partners who are really involved throughout the whole project and also in the future of the Green Team Twente. Because not only this year counts, there are many years to come.’

Shell Eco-Marathon

‘Right now I’m busy with arranging all the logistics related to the race, making sure we have all the needed equipment and that everyone is ready for the trip to London. During the race itself, I will keep a global overview, making sure people are available and on the right place at the right moment. I hope for a very nice result at the SEM and I hope to see how our hydrogen eco-racing car can strive for new efficiency limits.’  

Why join the Green Team

‘It’s hard to describe what a year on the Green Team looks like, it has been a very diverse period. I joined because I wanted to gain another experience besides studying and being on a student team is one of the most challenging things you can do during your studies. You have one big project that you work on for a whole year, there is a goal that you and your team needs to achieve. It’s hard work, but I learnt a lot.’  

 

Fabian van Hummel

'I didn’t expect there could be so many setbacks' 

Studies: Electrical Engineering

Green Team position: Electrical Engineer

Role in the Green Team

‘I’m an electrical engineer, but during my studies I learnt mostly theory. Here I can apply what I’ve learnt. I was in charge of the clutch, which should help the car to be more efficient. I’ve also worked on the hydrogen system. Basically, the electrical engineers are making the car race ready, boosting its efficiency as much as possible.’

Shell Eco Marathon

‘So far we have been doing very well, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Once we arrive to London, we have to put all systems back to the car and take the car for a mandatory technical inspection to make sure that the car is safe and meets all the SEM requirements. Afterwards, I will monitor the car and be on standby in case it breaks. I think SEM will be something I will remember my whole life.’

What makes the Green Team different

‘It’s great to be involved in something so prestigious. You are responsible for one big project and you learn things you otherwise wouldn’t. If you encounter problems, you simply have to fix them. I knew electronics would break down, but I still didn’t expect there could be so many setbacks. In the end, it’s great fun, though – working in a team and seeing all your components work. I’m proud to be part of the team. We are the first Green Team that is international. And unlike some other teams competing in the SEM, we make most of our components ourselves, which means we learn so much more.’ 

 

Photos of Green Team members provided by: Rhita Addi