Engineering Students Launch Campaign To Help Them Build Alt Fuel Vehicle‏

PHOTO: Members of MC3 Engineering INNOVA discuss design modifications to their urban concept vehicle. Students are raising money via Go Fund Me to purchase materials to complete their vehicle and to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2016 in Detroit, Mich. this spring. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTO: Members of MC3 Engineering INNOVA discuss design modifications to their urban concept vehicle. Students are raising money via Go Fund Me to purchase materials to complete their vehicle and to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2016 in Detroit, Mich. this spring. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

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

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.

To learn more and to help support MC3 Engineering INNOVA, visit or

MCCC Earns GVF Platinum Sustainability Award For Transportation Initiatives


GVF Assistant Director Maureen Farrell (far right) and Action News Anchor Matt O’Donnell (far left) present (from left) Peggy Lee-Clark, MCCC executive director of government relations, and Dr. Celeste Schwartz, MCCC vice president for information technology and college services, with a platinum level sustainability award.

King of Prussia, Pa.— For the fourth consecutive year, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) earned a platinum-level sustainability award from the Greater Valley Forge Management Association (GVF) on Sept. 8 during the organization’s annual Sustainability Breakfast. MCCC was one of 32 organizations recognized for sustainability efforts in 2014.

MCCC partners with GVF to operate a campus shuttle service between its Blue Bell and Pottstown campuses and, for the first time this fall, between its Blue Bell campus and Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale. Last year, more than 10,400 riders took advantage of the free, 20-passenger shuttle, which is equipped with wi-fi to support student success.

On Earth Day 2014, MCCC and GVF introduced a new vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG), which, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, will further reduce emissions by 11 tons of carbon dioxide over the next year based on the 28,560 miles driven and 3,483 gallons of diesel fuel used in 2013. Prior to the introduction of the CNG vehicle, MCCC’s shuttle program helped to eliminate approximately 54,527 metric tons of carbon emissions and reduce vehicle usage by 522,144 miles annually.

In addition to the shuttle program, MCCC also employs Zimride, an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through college community network that fully integrates with Facebook. Since launching Zimride in 2011, MCCC’s network has logged 1,461,492 carpool miles.

At the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, drivers of electric, hybrid, and conventional vehicles that average 25 MPG or greater, as well as carpoolers and shuttle riders, have the opportunity to park in a designated, convenient 185-space parking lot adjacent to the Advanced Technology Center. Electric vehicle charging stations are available in the Green Lot, as well as in the South Hall parking lot at the West Campus in Pottstown.

Other transportation initiatives include a Segway program for public safety officers in Pottstown, electric and hybrid vehicles for public safety and facilities staff in Blue Bell, and an increased effort to promote bicycle accessibility at all MCCC locations.

Since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award.  To learn more about MCCC’s sustainability initiative, visit

Death Leaves BARTA With Big Hole To Fill

English: BARTA bus in downtown Reading, Pennsy...

English: BARTA bus in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania, July 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BARTA will send off the first bus from its restored Franklin Street Station in Monday, taking the final step in realizing its dream of reopening the once-abandoned city transportation hub.

But agency officials who have been scrambling to start the new Reading-Lebanon route will have something else on their minds: the man whose vision for the station started it all.

Dennis D. Louwerse, BARTA’s longtime executive director, died Thursday night from complications related to a respiratory infection, according to agency officials.  He was 68.

He took the helm of the then-financially troubled bus agency 30 years ago and transformed it into an organization that’s recognized in the national transportation industry.

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