Home " The H2 Challenge: Daniel in 24 hours on hydrogen through Europe

The H2 Challenge: Daniel in 24 hours on hydrogen through Europe

hydrogen car

Last November 11 and 12 was the H2 Challenge: that sounds interesting. We ask Daniel a few questions.

Daniel, have you recovered from the H2 Challenge?

Yes, it was very cool to do, 24 hours with four people in a car, then you really come to good conversations, also about hydrogen!

Tell me, who were you on the team with?

Our team consisted of green Hydrogen Utrecht people Regina Horbach of the province of Utrecht, Bert Strijker of the Energie Collectief Utrechtse Bedrijven (ECUB) and Jolanda Ledoux from Platform Groene Hart Werkt! And I myself am a researcher at KWR Water Research Institute involved in LIFE NEW HYTS. This is a LIFE-project ("The EU's funding instrument for the environment and climate action") that shows that green hydrogen for heavy transport is already possible. A large electrolyser will soon be installed at KWR in Nieuwegein. With the green energy from the 9 MWP solar field located there, we will make hydrogen and it can be refueled by trucks.

collage with photos H2-challenge

What does the H2 Challenge entail?

The H2 Challenge involves trying to collect as many points as possible in a hydrogen car within 24 hours. Collecting points can be done in lots of different ways. For example, by being in different countries. But also by doing assignments such as interviewing someone about hydrogen, making movies and posting them on social media and you name it. With an app you keep track of it and send it on. We were live for 24 hours. All aimed at making sure there is a lot of buzz about hydrogen.

Who did with it?

Many "young dogs" participated, super enthusiastic people from e.g. an educational institution or from companies working in hydrogen. You can see that it is very innovative and has the future.

What did you do in 24 hours and where did you go? Not slept? 

Being awake a lot and dozing a bit in the back seat, that was about it in those 24 hours. We have been in 5 countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland (about 5 minutes haha for the points) and especially in Germany. That's also where you find most of the gas stations.

Had you driven a hydrogen car before? 

Yes once before on the circuit of Zandvoort. But not before so simply on the highway. Our Toyota Mirai drove like a breeze. It is stable on the road and accelerates quickly. The car is full of technical gadgets such as adaptive cruise control, so that the car keeps distance from the car in front, but also lane assist so that you stay in your own lane. Pretty handy on those big German highways. And it drives very quietly, no noise from a diesel or gasoline engine. So we could talk to each other very well, which was very cozy. And more importantly, no dirty exhaust fumes, just the occasional drip of water.

How many times did you refuel? How does that actually refuel? What do you fill up with and how long can you drive with that?

Refueling with a hydrogen car is pretty easy. Sort of like with a gas car. You just hook up the nozzle and then refuel some kilos. With our car you could fill up about 4.5 kilos of hydrogen, we could drive about 450 kilometers with that. At one point, things did get a little tense when it turned out that one of the filling stations we were heading to for refueling was faulty. On our app we got a notification of a malfunction. Then it was a little tense whether we would make it to the next one, but we did! None of the teams stopped along the way, so that's a good sign despite the fact that there aren't that many charging stations yet.

What did you learn that you didn't already know?

What I learned -I am a researcher and interested in engineering- is that the German gas stations are a little better equipped on not letting the nozzle freeze. In fact, it can get quite cold and freeze due to the pressure differences. Interesting to see those differences in technology now.

Your team did not win (...) What will you do differently next time? 

Haha no we definitely didn't win. We had a great time, talked to a lot of people and showed that driving a hydrogen car is just fine. And we also chose as a team to have a nice dinner together along the way as well. Next time, we are going to study the tasks a bit more in advance and see what is a smart strategy to collect a lot of points.

hydrogen car

Aha we hear next time?

Yes, I really enjoyed it and will participate again next year. Through events like this we can show people that hydrogen driving works well and is a clean alternative to gasoline and diesel!

Who won? 

The winning team is of the H2 Challenge 2022 is The fast and Hydrofurious, congratulations!

The Fast and Hydrofurious