Blue Bell, Pa.—A team of 11 Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) engineering students are designing and building a hydrogen cell-powered urban concept vehicle that will allow them to compete in the “Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2016” in Detroit, Mich. this spring.
The team—MC3 Engineering INNOVA—has launched a campaign on Go Fund Me to help raise the money needed to complete the vehicle. The goal is to raise $15,000, which will be used to help purchase materials and to pay for student travel expenses to Detroit. The campaign is coordinated with MCCC’s Foundation and First Giving, making all donations tax deductible. Visit the Go Fund Me campaign online at http://www.gofundme.com/projectinnova.
The campaign builds on the $10,000 in grant funding the team has secured to date, which has allowed them to begin vehicle design. The entire project is led by students under the guidance of Associate Professor William Brownlowe.
“The designing and building of INNOVA gives our students an incredible, hands-on opportunity to engage in real-world research & development not often found at a community college,” explained Brownlowe. “The vehicle will also serve as a valuable teaching tool for future students who will be charged with modifying and improving it as an integrated part of our engineering curriculum.”
With the projected depletion of oil and natural gas resources over the next 50 years, it’s critical that engineering students become familiar with alternative fuel options today.
“Engineering students have to train for the technology they’ll be using 15 years from now, not the technology that’s available today. Alternative fuel vehicles are the future,” said Brownlowe.
INNOVA is an urban concept vehicle designed for inner city use, which means it will travel a maximum speed of 25 MPH. A small hydrogen fuel cell engine powers two small motors on the vehicle’s back tires. To compete in the Shell Eco-marathon, the vehicle must be road legal, with working headlights, windshield wipers and turn signals. When completed, Brownlowe expects INNOVA to weigh around 400 pounds. The maximum weight to compete is 500.