Eco-Runner Team Delft
Eco-Runner Team Delft is the first (student)team from the Netherlands to participate in the Shell Eco-marathon at the Rockingham Speedway in the UK in July 2006. After its first participation, three new Dutch teams arose in the next year, competing in the Nogaro Circuit Shell Eco-marathon in May 2007. There are currently 11 teams in the Netherlands that will compete during the Shell Eco Marathon Europe 2011 in Lausitz, Germany.
About the Team
Eco-Runner Team Delft was founded by a handful of technology students in the Netherlands in November 2005. In its first year, the team consisted of eleven second year students of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology. Seven of these students were from Belgium and four were Dutch. The team's goal was to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon on the Rockingham Speedway in the UK in July 2006.
After the first year, some of the first year team members left the team, but new members were recruited. As of 2011, the team consists of 20 members, including two drivers.
The First Year
In its first year the Eco-Runner Team Delft built the Eco-Runner 1. This vehicle was built in a limited time and with limited resources, but it nonetheless achieved the team's goal of running 500 kilometers on one litre of petrol. Even with a non-functioning fuel injection system, which was the most important feature of the vehicle, the team was able to achieve 557 kilometers per litre. This achievement encouraged the team to build a new Eco-Runner and participate again with a goal of 2000 kilometres per litre and a top-5 place in the Shell Eco-marathon at the Rockingham speedway.
The Eco-Runner H2
This new Eco-Runner is called the Eco-Runner H2. Its main improvement with respect to the first version is its completely integrated design. This results in an extremely aerodynamic shape and a light weight of the vehicle. On top of that the team is developing two propulsion methods for this new Eco-Runner H2, actually resulting in two Eco-Runners H2.
The first propulsion method comprises a fuel cell driving an electric motor.
The other method is a six-stroke petrol combustion engine. The basic principle of this engine is the same to that of a four-stroke engine but for the injection of a drop of water after the fourth stroke. Due to the extreme heat remaining in the cylinder head, the water will expand rapidly, resulting in a "free" working stroke. The team is aware of this engine's downside, which is the combination of water, high temperature and high pressure, inevitably resulting in a high level over corrosion.
The Eco-Runner H2 participated in the 2007 edition of the Shell Eco Marathon, where it achieved the Dutch fuel efficiency record of 2282 km/l of petrol using the fuel cell set-up (The hydrogen consumption of the fuel cell is monitored carefully by race officials and then converted to the equivalent of a liter of Shell 95 standard fuel using specific combustion heat of both substances). This was despite a hastily repaired and therefore very poorly working cruise control - a feature essential for keeping all of the components at their point of maximum efficiency. The Eco-Runner H2 holds the Dutch fuel efficiency record to this day.
The Eco-Runner 3
The next generation of the Eco-Runner is currently under design/construction and will participate in the Shell Eco Marathon 2011 where the target for the new team will be 3000 km/l. Simulations show that the vehicle might even do quite a lot better than this target. The team currently consists of around 20 dedicated members, designing and producing the new vehicle. Major improvements over the old vehicle include the aerodynamics and fuel cell efficiency which have all received major upgrades while the weight of the vehicle will drop by a significant amount. Almost no part of the Eco-Runner 3 will be off-the-shelf: 95% of all components are of an in-house design or at the very least modified to suite the team's specific needs. The vehicle is expected to be operational by end of April 2011.