April – Testing

The past few weeks, the whole team was busy assembling our boat; Aurora.

Hull and Body

During the assembly phase, the Hull and Body department helped the other departments assemble parts into the boat. Slowly, our Aurora was filled with parts; a weird sight to get used to and satisfactory at the same time. After Hull and Body laminated the deck onto the boat, they could also add all the parts to the exterior of the boat.
Besides the hull, the Hull & Body Department worked a lot on connecting all the hydrogen systems. Between the high-pressure system of the tank and the low-pressure system of the fuel cell, they had to bend and connect several tubes. They checked all connections by pressure testing with nitrogen. After a successful test, we were able to fill the system with hydrogen for the first time and test the fuel cell.

The Hull and Body department also dealt with the logistics for the test phase. Because we are testing with the team at an external location, we have to move our entire workshop; quite a logistically challenging operation. Furthermore, during the test phase, the roles within the team change. We will be working in a different composition than we were used to earlier this year.

Embedded Systems

During the past few weeks, the Embedded Systems department worked really hard on getting the complete electrical system to work in the boat. Having working PCB’s and sensors is nice, but connecting them together brings new problems. They tested the complete electrical system contained within watertight boxes outside the boat on a table, but after mounting it in the boat they still had to troubleshoot. At first the cooling pumps were not working reliably, but the Embedded Systems department was able to identify the problem and  design a new PCB for it. Now they are working great. They wrote a lot of code for the start-up sequence of the boat, and to make the boat safe. They also had trouble with getting the motor spinning reliably, but after redesigning the cable structure and configuring the motor controller, they got it working.

The Embedded Systems department will be very busy during testing. They will write, implement and test new code functions. Besides that they will gather and analyse data to optimise the boat. Besides that, two of the Embedded System engineers will pilot the boat during testing,  and the Embedded Systems department will be closely involved as co-pilots and strategists. When testing the foil actuation, Darwin will be busy with getting the system working correctly. Meanwhile in the Dream Hall, spare PCB’s will be soldered by other people so that they are ready if they need to be swapped in.

Vehicle Dynamics


Last month everything was prepared for testing. This means that all the systems had to be installed in the boat. For the Vehicle Dynamics department, it started with installing the cooling system. This system consists of 4 closed loops and 2 open loops. The open loop systems pump (sea)water through heat exchangers. Every closed loop flows through a heat exchanger to transfer its heat to the (sea)water. Next to the cooling system, the steering system was installed as well. This system is designed to be as lightweight as possible and therefore we are using Dyneema cables, supplied by FibrXL. Furthermore the Vehicle Dynamics department assembled the driveline in the rear strut. This is a precise job, because everything has to fit securely but with tight tolerances. Luckily this went well and they were able to dry test it in the Dreamhall. They also completed the height control system. The spindles, which were lathed by Jense Machine Service, were the last parts before it could be tested. With the help of Servo motors, supplied by Maxon, this system will actuate the foils and therefore enable us to get the boat out of the water!

Testing on the water

Last week we went to our test location for the first time! We test in the harbour in Drimmelen. The harbour gives the perfect opportunity to get the boat in the water for test and get the boat out of the water to make the necessary improvements.
We will test in Drimmelen until we depart to Monaco for the Energy Boat Challenge in July. The first week we did the last few (successful) dry tests before going on the water! We tested if our boat floated and of course Aurora did. After that, we sailed on the water with power supplied by the  buffer.
Before we can test the hydrogen system on the water we need to do some more dry tests. We need to test the whole electrical system and the whole hydrogen system. For the hydrogen system we need to test the high and low pressure system to make sure there are no leaks, and we’ll test the hydrogen sensors to make sure that if there is a leak we will know immediately. Lastly, we need to test the fuel cell to make sure it works as it should. When all these tests are successful we can start testing the whole hydrogen system with the boat on the water.

While we are busy with testing, the team is also busy with dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s for the Boat Reveal. The Boat Reveal will take place on the 8th of May in the Onderzeebootloods in Rotterdam. Here we will reveal and christen our boat! Do you want to join us on the 8th of May? Register here: http://eventbrite.com/e/tickets-boat-reveal-tu-delft-hydro-motion-team-601236704167


For the coming weeks we will be working on the assembly of the last parts we need for the boat and we will dry test different systems in the boat. The next newsletter will be out in a month! Do you know someone who is not yet receiving this newsletter but would like to? Send an email to exposure@hydromotionteam.nl or click on the link below. Via the link, you can enter an email address and will be asked to confirm via Mailchimp’s email. Feel free to send any comments or questions to exposure@hydromotionteam.nl

See you next month!