The final for the student teams taking part in the competition was set for March 2018. In November 2017 Patrik’s four-member team met up for the first time. They divided their work into four areas like construction and process technology. This was the start to a very intense phase of Patrik’s life. He and his teammates gathered ideas, debated them and discarded some. Sometimes they worked all night. “The project was more time-consuming than the others, but it was exciting and there was a lot to learn,” he says. On their way to turn the project into reality by March 2018 Patrik’s team also encountered setbacks. “It was very challenging to align all our ideas, reach agreements and to unite all the different parts into one large project.” After all, the task was not only to build the vehicle but also to convince the judges with an innovative technology for propulsion.
But the team had an idea – like a spark of genius: They would use hydrogen peroxide combined with iron chloride. “Some people know these chemicals from dying their hair,” explains Patrik. “Iron chloride is like a powder. If you combine the two elements, you get a strong reaction. The hydrogen peroxide decomposes into water and oxygen. So you are left with water and oxygen in gaseous state. The oxygen generates pressure, which we could use to power our motor to set the vehicle in motion. This chemical reaction is a well-known classic, but we fine-tuned it with a homogenous catalyst.” For the design of the vehicle the team also relied on an unconventional model: a miniature locomotive with a 3D-printed vehicle body in Linde design. From there it was only a small step to settle on a name for the team: LoChemotive. In building the vehicle the team received support from Linde, for which Patrik is very grateful. “Linde sponsored many parts, for example an expensive safety valve. Plus, we had access to the company workshop, to conduct experiments. So Linde supported us a lot.”