NXP inspires student teams

Winning vehicles at Dutch embassy in London

NXP is celebrating two university projects in the Netherlands that have seen its chips help create ground-breaking vehicles.

The Eindhoven University of Technology has developed what is claimed to be the world’s first structural bio-based car and Twente University is celebrating victory in the hydrogen class of the Shell Eco-Marathon.

The 22 students in the Eindhoven team built a car called Lina that seats four people and weighs around 350kg.

“While car manufacturers are increasing the use of aluminium and carbon fibre to build lightweight, and thus more efficient cars, they ignore the fact these materials use six-times more energy to produce than steel,” said Quinten Oostvogel from the team. “We have developed a bio-composite that is lightweight, strong and sustainable. The bio-composite is based on the plant flax, and allows us to built a completely bio-based chassis, body and interior.”

He said that with CO2 levels worldwide now above 400ppm and more then seventy million cars being built per year the automotive industry needed to respond, but using materials such as aluminium was not the answer.

“Flax is grown in temperate climates and is really strong,” he said.

NXP helped with the electronics in the drivetrain and battery monitoring system. The whole project from concept to last month’s unveiling took about two years.

Green Team Twente is a multidisciplinary team that is convinced hydrogen is a rich and powerful sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. The hydrogen powered H2Infinity has a fully electric drive train and a Formula One-inspired steering wheel, and can communicate and be controlled over the air wirelessly.

The car was built with a team of 19 that covered nine disciplines and seven nationalities.

“This gave us all kinds of backgrounds and insights,” said team manager Vitto Bonnemayers. “The competition was not about speed but fuel efficiency. The idea is to go the longest distance with the least energy.”

He said the goal was to inspire others about the benefits of sustainable technologies.

“We used hydrogen because it doesn’t produce any polluting gases, only water vapour,” he said. “And it is fast to refuel and safe to store. We designed the electronics in house for optimal efficiency.”

Olivier Cotterreau, vice president at NXP, said the two teams were “pushing the limits of innovation”.

NXP helped the teams with technology, products and engineering time. The company provided consultancy services letting the teams tap in the knowledge of hundreds of engineers.

“We have no future if we are not inspiring the next generation,” said Cotterreau. “We want to inspire them and let them inspire us.”



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