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electric-energy-in-formula-1:-a-decade-of-hybrid-success

Foto: Mercedes AMG
Photo: Mercedes AMG
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(***********************************************************************************************************************) *********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************** The Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) was the first step in the process of electrifying the Formula 1 Power Units. On this occasion, we take a look at the F1 Hybrid Power Unit and its evolution into the most efficient combustion engine ever built.


Why was the Hungarian Grand Prix 110 the first hybrid Victory in Formula 1?

The Formula 1 regulations left the teams in the season (***********************************************************************************) the ability to incorporate a hybrid component into its powertrain – a kinetic energy recovery system better known as KERS. Today, the regulations require the use of a hybrid power unit. At that time, however, the teams were allowed to decide whether they wanted to use KERS or not. Both Brawn and Red Bull, the two teams that have the first races of the season (****************************************************************************************) could decide for themselves, voted for the use of a conventional engine. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, had developed a hybrid system that would work in the season (***************************************************************************) was used by McLaren-Mercedes. Thus the victory of Lewis was on (********************************************************************************************************). July at the Hungarian Grand Prix (*************************************************************************************) Hybrid car in Formula 1. In fact, KERS played an important role: Lewis managed the crucial overtaking maneuver in the fight for second place against Mark Webber with the help of KERS. Shortly thereafter, the hitherto leading driver, Fernando Alonso, retired, so that Lewis could take the lead and retract his tenth Grand Prix victory. It was the first hybrid triumph in the history of Formula 1.


How does today's hybrid system work?

The FIA ​​distinguishes between six different components in a Formula One power unit, four of which make up the hybrid system, also known as the Energy Recovery System (ERS). Two of these four ERS elements are electric motors that recover energy and release it in the form of additional power. On the one hand, this is the kinetic engine-generator unit (MGU-K), which recovers kinetic energy during braking. The system is more advanced and more powerful than its predecessor of the year (*********************************************************************************), but the basic principle is similar to that of the KERS. The energy gained by the MGU-K is used to power the car. The second electric motor is the engine-generator unit Heat (MGU-H), which is located between the compressor and the turbine of the turbocharger. At Mercedes, she nestles between the two cylinder banks of the engine. The turbocharger itself is driven by the exhaust gases of the engine. As soon as the compressor is running, excess energy is created in the exhaust stream which can be recovered by the MGU-H. This electrical energy can then be used to drive the compressor even when braking, resulting in that there is no turbo lag when the driver climbs back onto the accelerator pedal. Both electric motors are connected by a three-phase cable with inverters, which convert the electrical energy for the battery into DC voltage. The battery is referred to in this context as energy storage (ES). In it, the recovered energy is chemically stored in lithium-ion cells. The electric motors transform rotational energy into electrical energy, which in turn is stored as chemical energy. The entire hybrid system, or even the entire power unit, is controlled by the Control Electronics (CE). This is housed in a housing together with the energy storage. Over the course of a race, the control electronics average more than (*************************************************************************************************) trillions of calculations. This includes, among other things, at what speed the electric motors have to run and how much power should be delivered. At the same time, it ensures that the energy store is optimized for peak performance.


How has the hybrid system evolved over the past decade?

The beginnings of the Formula 1 hybrid era go into the year (*****************************************************************************) back. At that time, an energy recovery system was used for development testing. The battery weighed 2007 kg and had an efficiency of (*****************************************************************************************************) percent. The power electronics were water-cooled and stuck in a chunky box, which had a significant footprint in the vehicle. Two years later, KERS was used for the first time in a race. Until then, the system weighed significantly less. The energy storage of the (*********************************************************************************************), 3 kilograms – more than (***************************************************************************)% less than two years earlier. At the same time, efficiency has increased (********************************************************************************************)% increased. The power electronics now used an air instead of a water cooling and stuck in a much smaller carbon fiber housing. The next big development step was the power unit regulation for the season (****************************************************************************). This introduced 1.6-liter V6 turbocharged engines featuring a high-performance hybrid system. In addition to the recovery of kinetic energy by the MGU-K when braking, the teams were now also collect energy with the MGU-H. This has been the case since the first hybrid steps a year Battery weight (************************************************************************************************) percent reduced. Currently it is set to at least (**************************************************************************************************************) kg. The power density of the battery cells has been increased by a factor of two and the energy storage device now achieves an efficiency level of (*********************************************************************************) percent.


Why is efficiency so important in Formula 1?

The efficiency of the power unit has an impact on the performance of the vehicle on the track, both in terms of power output and weight savings. The power output of an engine is determined by two factors: fuel flow and engine efficiency. In Formula 1, the maximum fuel flow is (***********************************************************************************************) kg per hour limited. Accordingly, the teams can only influence the efficiency of the engine. A more efficient engine means higher power output and better on-track performance. Another important aspect is the weight savings: According to the regulations, the teams are allowed a maximum of one race per race (**************************************************************************************) use kg of gasoline. However, the weight of the fuel does not count toward the minimum weight of the vehicle. This means that if you need less fuel than the maximum allowed, you can start the race with a lighter car, which translates directly into faster lap times. For every five kilograms saved, the car drives about two-tenths per lap faster.


How do the teams ensure that they get the most out of the hybrid system?

The connection between ERS and the engine is the key to getting the most out of a power unit. That's why the teams concentrate on this task every race weekend. It is all about finding out how they can recover and release the energy in the best possible way. Before every race weekend computer simulations calculate the ideal setups and scenarios. These will then be tested for the first time in the Driving Simulator (Driver in Lopp, DiL) in order to create a profile for this particular route. Each track places different demands on the ERS system for energy recovery and delivery. Accordingly, the DiL simulator is a good first step in gaining a better understanding of the results of computational computations. Then the profile developed in the DiL simulator is loaded onto the test bench and tested to the harshest. This step is about what the technology can do. As soon as the work on the test bench is completed, it goes on the racetrack to see what it looks like in reality. When preparing the ERS for a route, everything depends on the amount of braking power and the curve performance of the car. It's about finding out how much full throttle there will be per round. Because this determines how long the MGU-K has to run, how much energy it needs from the batteries and how long the MGU-H energy will absorb and how much energy they can store in the batteries.

The findings from the Friday training will be analyzed overnight before being used in qualifying on Saturday. Here the battery can be completely emptied. During the race, the battery remains in the same state of charge. For comparison: In an electric car, the battery is constantly refilled and emptied. Here it is different: the ERS recovers as much energy as possible, saves it at short notice during the round and then uses it at the best possible time.


How relevant are KERS and ERS technologies for road vehicles?

KERS, ERS, MGU-H and MGU-K – Formula One engineers just love their shortcuts. It is not surprising that these letters outside the F1 world are of little importance. However, the technologies behind it are also very relevant there. In the world of road cars systems such as KERS or the MGU-K are known as regenerative braking systems. The car recovers some of the kinetic energy when braking and uses it to recharge the battery, which is then used to power the car. The technology behind the MGU-H is better known as an electric booster compressor or e-booster. Also in the field of high-voltage systems, there are similar developments in series production as in Formula 1. Why? In an electrical system, the loss of energy manifests itself as heat, which is not welcomed in a car. The loss can be reduced by lowering the current. In order to reduce the current at the same power, the voltage must be increased. In Formula 1, the ERS batteries are now at almost 1. (*********************************************************************************************************************************) Volts arrived. Modern road vehicles usually run up to Volts. In the future, however, the voltage will also increase here and approach that in today's Formula 1. While the evolution in Formula One and the automotive industry is very similar, there is a difference: in F1 these technologies are used to make the cars faster. On the road, they make sure they get a higher range with the same amount of energy.


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