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High School Students Harness Hydrogen to Power Model Cars

The Alternative Press Staff

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 6:00am

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The eighth annual H2 Challenge was hosted by TransOptions, the Transportation Management Association for northwestern New Jersey, at New Providence High School on Wednesday.

The program promotes technology in education and aims to foster student interest in STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The Challenge was originally developed by the U.S. Department of Energy for its annual National Science Bowl competition. 

About 140 high school students who took part in TransOptions’ Hydrogen Fuel Cell (H2) Model Car Challenge on Wednesday.

“I produced hydrogen that powered my racing car. Now I understand how that works. Plus, it was fun,” commented a high school student at the Challenge. 

“Year after year, the challenge helps future motorists learn first-hand about a sustainable fuel that can improve air quality by reducing pollution,” said John F. Ciaffone, president of TransOptions. “This year is no different. Sponsoring the challenge is part of our ongoing commitment to support environmental education. We are ecstatic to be playing a role in encouraging high school students to pursue careers in engineering and science." 

As race day began, each of the 42 teams from 14 area schools stopped at the judge's table, where a panel examined their model car to ensure that it conformed to regulations. Each team also presented a documentation portfolio that is required to illustrate the concepts, designs and development of their model car. 

Just prior to each race, pairs of teams huddled at the starting line to produce hydrogen through a process known as electrolysis which powered the fuel cell stack. Cars then raced two by two down a 66-foot long track. Multiple rounds of elimination races were held until the two fastest cars, “Home One” and “Legacy,” raced against each other to determine the speed competition winner. “Home One” emerged as the winner.

Awards were presented to the winners at the conclusion of the races in the categories of speed, documentation, craftsmanship and engineering.

The winners were:

Speed

First Place – “Home One” – Union County Magnet High School – Yuji Sugimoto, Kristianna Elbert, Yang Christopher and Sarah DiIorio. Second Place – “Legacy” – Hanover Park High School – Francisco Ruela, Jake Block, Carter Campbell and Alex Mansueta. Third Place – “Fizix Jeep” – Mountain Lakes High School – Avery Kaplan and Jake Schuckman

Documentation

First Place – “Legacy” – Hanover Park High School - Francisco Ruela, Jake Block, Carter Campbell and Alex Mansueta. Second Place – “H2GO” – High Point Regional High School – Ryan Henderson, Justin Brady, Brandon Webster and Dylan Clark. Third Place – “Home One” – Union County Magnet High School - Yuji Sugimoto, Kristianna Elbert, Yang Christopher and Sarah DiIorio

Craftsmanship

First Place – “Legacy” – Hanover Park High School - Francisco Ruela, Jake Block, Carter Campbell and Alex Mansueta. Second Place – “H2GO” – High Point Regional High School - Ryan Henderson, Justin Brady, Brandon Webster and Dylan Clark. Third Place – “Big Brave” – Newton High School – Shane Best, Layne Darabaris and Summer Malone

 

Engineering

First Place: “H2GO” – High Point Regional High School - Ryan Henderson, Justin Brady, Brandon Webster and Dylan Clark.

To learn more about TransOptions Environmental Education programs and how to participate in next year’s Challenge, call (973) 267-7600 or email info@transoptions.org.

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