Steane Klose | Nov 6, 2008

Working in collaboration with Germany's Fachhochschule Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences, RMIT University researchers have unveiled Australia's first hydrogen-powered race car.

The car will be bidding for the title of world's fastest hydrogen-powered racer when it attempts to break the Guinness World Records mark for speed by a vehicle of its class in early 2009.

Powered by an internal combustion motorcycle engine that has been modified to run on hydrogen, the hydrogen race car is expected to reach speeds of up to 170 kmh in its world record bid, to be held in Germany next year.

Professor Aleksandar Subic, RMIT Head of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, said the hydrogen car project could radically change the world's approach to automotive technologies.

rmit_FormulaH Prototype_rear_bw

"This is a demonstration vehicle for the future - a car that is powerful, fast and runs on clean, sustainable fuel," Professor Subic said.

"By aiming to set a new speed record for one-seater, hydrogen-powered racing cars, we want to show the world the possibilities of this alternative clean technology, both for ordinary vehicles and in racing."

Increasing interest in hydrogen as an alternative renewable fuel has seen a number of manufacturers, such as BMW and Honda, advanced in product development utilising hydrogen (Honda's FCX Clarity is hydrogen fuel cell powered).

rmit_FormulaH Prototype_photo_01

Through this project, Melbourne's RMIT University set out to demonstrate the possibilities of hydrogen as the clean, renewable fuel of the future, as well as demonstrating the University's automotive reseach and engineering capabilities.

"Our work will have benefits for all cars but we also hope it could lead one day to a first in racing - a clean and green Formula 1 competition," Professor Subic said.

That would seem to be a tall order at this time, but you never know.


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