TU/e student team FAST goes commercial as DENS
Team FAST, which worked on applications for the formic acid-based Hydrozine fuel, will stop existing. Part of the TU/e student team will continue as a start-up DENS, which wants to make the technology commercially available. As a first product DENS will focus on stationary generators for construction sites.
Team FAST’s technology revolves around the release of hydrogen from formic acid, which is then used in a fuel cell to generate electricity. The formic acid thereby acts as a hydrogen carrier, in the form of an easily handled liquid. With the Pico and Junior scale models, the team made the first cars in which an electric motor was driven with formic acid. In addition, work was done on the development of “Hydrozine”, sustainably generated formic acid with a few additives for optimum fuel efficiency.
Last year Team FAST built a trailer that can be hung behind an electric bus: the “range extender” REX (see photos above). In the end, it never drove on the road, says Max Aerts, co-founder of both Team FAST and DENS. “We didn’t want to take the risk of putting it on the road, because we were afraid that the installation would get damaged by the vibrations created during driving. This would have been a waist of all the hard work put into creating the prototype. “
The team then built a stationary generator, which was tested as an aggregate last June on a construction site for the construction of the N211 at Poeldijk. “The pilot went well,” says Aerts. “But we did notice that we had to have engineers present at all times, monitoring the process to keep an eye on everything. Therefore, the next step is to let the system run autonomously. The user has to be able to press a button and then no longer have to worry about it. “
DENS will mainly focus on such generators in the coming period, he says. “In principle, Hydrozine can be used wherever diesel is currently being refueled, so also for trucks and tractors. But it is much easier for us to take steps if we do not have to meet the requirements of the automotive industry. “
The majority of the thirty members of Team FAST, mainly Bachelor’s students, are back studying, says Aerts. “Six members continue to work at DENS; In addition, we have recruited Wout Gubbels, former team manager of Solar Team Eindhoven. “
Although they are now continuing as an independent company, Aerts and his colleagues continue to work closely with TU/e. “Together with researchers from Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, we want to further improve our system. In addition, we naturally think it is important that the Hydrozine is produced sustainably, so we will continue to be actively involved in setting up production facilities. “
Just like Team Fast before, DENS – fully Dutch Energy Solutions – is located at the Automotive Campus in Helmond.