The Saint Thomas Academy, a boys Middle and High School based in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, is making progress on their Shell Eco-marathon car – powered by a Horizon Educational fuel cell.
Each year the school’s ‘Experimental Vehicle Team’ designs, constructs, and races a car that takes part in the Shell Eco-marathon. This ‘eco-marathon’ is an international educational initiative that tasks students with constructing vehicles that are highly energy efficient. At the core of this competition is the ongoing challenge of reducing the energy consumption of transportation.
The Saint Thomas’s team is currently halfway through constructing their car, and is excited with the progress that has been made. “The team worked quickly but carefully to get the body pieces complete, and everyone is just thrilled with the sleek look of the car” says coordinator Sara Krivak. “The next steps are to cut out the windshield and doors, bond the pieces together, shave down the edges, and get it painted. We are so proud of the students, they are an amazing group”.
Saint Thomas’s car is powered exclusively by Horizon Educational’s H-1000XP fuel cell stack. This air-cooled fuel cell stack was developed in collaboration with shell Eco-marathon champions, and teams who used this fuel cell have all achieved excellent rankings in the last 2 years – including first place. The newest generation fuel cell stack has recently achieved a peak efficiency of up to 59% in real world conditions during a test run by a team in Asia.
Fuel cell stacks like these will power the transportation vehicles of the future. Everything from heavy duty trucks to trains and airplanes will eventually run entirely on renewable energy, with hydrogen the most likely source. In order to make this transition happen – STEAM education will be vital. Training the next generation of scientists and engineers will require teaching that goes beyond traditional STEM education – incorporating creativity, critical thinking and real-world problem solving into the curriculum.