À Magny-Cours, Oreca travaille sur un moteur à hydrogène pour équiper une voiture sur le Dakar

Cars – At Magny-Cours, Oreca is working on a hydrogen engine to outfit a car in Dakar

If Magny-Cours remains a center of innovation, it is because there are players around the circle from the world of motorsports constantly striving to adapt to new technologies. This is how Oreca is currently working on a hydrogen engine to equip a car that entered the Dakar.

“The international federation and the regulator in Dakar have specified the hydrogen engine in their regulations,” explains Serge Meyer, director of the engine department at Oreca. “We remain oriented towards heat engines, but with hydrogen and not gasoline. It has many advantages, starting with the fact that it does not generate carbon dioxide.”

excellent Motorsports and Magny-Cours want to go green

To prepare, the company headed by Hugues de Chaunac had to secure its engine seat, since hydrogen is flammable and therefore requires increased precautions. “We will be ready to start an engine in June,” Serge Mayer announced. Starting with the engine they prepared for the rally race, Oreca technicians are preparing to adapt it to hydrogen. “We are developing a 500 cc single-cylinder combustion model, which could become a four-cylinder engine or a V8 engine,” explains Serge Mayer. “We must first of all control the combustion and storage of hydrogen.”

The main difficulty posed by hydrogen is its storage in the car. “If you want 15 kg of hydrogen, you need a 400 kg tank,” explains Serge Meyer. “It will still allow you to do about half of a special show in Dakar, so you will need to refuel in the middle of the stage. Specifically, Saudi Arabia, which is hosting the rally, has announced that it wants to be a major producer of hydrogen, and therefore is also planning to install pumps.

“It is clear that this new technology is of interest to manufacturers.”

Oreca is also working on finding partners, especially for the injector. “It is a direct injection engine and the hydrogen is not injected under high pressure and in a very short time. But we already have potential subcontractors with products that can meet our demand. Next, it will be a question of finding a manufacturer who wants to integrate the Oreca engine into its chassis.” This new technology is of interest to manufacturers and can be applied in other formulations, such as endurance in particular”, advances Serge Mayer.

On the other hand, he does not yet see that his engine is adaptable to production cars. “There are still three brakes: distribution, because there are no or few charging stations; tank size, which is the brakes; and production, though the cost will be the same, except for the cost of the tank.”

Vincent Darbo

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