Nineteen University of Alberta students have come back to Edmonton as winners thanks to their EcoCar, Alice. The team competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon America’s competition and took home first place in the UrbanConcept hydrogen fuel cell category.
WE DID IT. WE WON 1ST PLACE!! THANK YOU TO OUR INCREDIBLE TEAM! WE WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT YOU! pic.twitter.com/y06FcCVGd8
— UAlberta EcoCar (@UofAEcoCar) April 25, 2016
Which means it’s meant to be 1/4 the size of a regular car, and team leader Nikola Viktorov says it has to have the same features as a regular car.
“It needs to have things like windshield wipers, signal lights, tail lights, it needs to fit one person fairly comfortably, and of course it needs to be running on a fuel cell which basically a zero emission system, so the only emission you produce is water.”
Viktorov says Alice had to pass two tests, the first a technical inspection which she did on the first try, he says they need to make sure their car is safe, especially since it uses hydrogen.
“We go through a hydrogen tech inspection, and we need to have a system that more than 40 PPM, so 40 parts per million of leaks. Now to put that in perspective, hydrogen in the atmosphere ignites at 40,000 parts per million. So we need to have a system that is completely safe in order for us to pass tech inspection.”
The technology could also help the students get jobs after graduating, as Shell revealed during the competition its hyper fuel-efficient concept car, but he says it could be a while before we see it on the raods.
“There is a lot of research going on right now into good ways to produce hydrogen and great ways to use it. So it will take a bit of time but definitely these developments especially with what Shell has released are really excellent.”
He says despite that, it gives the team motivation to know what they’re doing is going to be relevant to their careers.
The team will now move onto an international competition in Europe at the beginning of July.