EcoPoxy annouced as Exclusive Epoxy Sponsor

We are pleased to announce that EcoPoxy is once again supporting our team as our exclusive epoxy partner.

EcoPoxy creates bio-based epoxies that provide innovative, sustainable alternatives to petroleum based epoxies. EcoPoxy supports the agricultural community and sustainability by seeking innovative solutions to work towards their goal of 100% bio-based epoxies. They also are committed to quality products and customer satisfaction, and are invested in continuous research and development to improve their products as well as their bio-content. 

Toyota Canada announced as Exclusive Automotive Sponsor

 

The University of Alberta EcoCar Team is delighted to announce that Toyota Canada Inc. will be joining the team as this year’s Exclusive Automotive Sponsor.

Ever since the team’s creation in 2010, participating in the Shell Eco-Marathon has given the team not only an opportunity to push the boundaries of energy efficiency but also the chance to explore and build perspectives on how to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

This year has been full of new and exciting pursuits; we are currently building our in-house fuel cell system and integrating autonomous capabilities into our UrbanConcept vehicle. Learning and community involvement are crucial to the vision of the team and the support from a forward thinking organization like Toyota Canada comes as an inspiring and humbling development.

We would like to once again thank Toyota for their generosity and support.

Day 4 – Early Morning Update

Day 3 – Sofie Races!!

Day 2 – Opening Ceremonies and Team Photos

Day 2 we woke up bright and early for our 6am team meeting, we discussed strategy for the day and had a quick breakfast before heading to the paddocks and starting work.

Our goals for the day were to get Sofie and Alice into tech inspection, so right at 8am we lined up with Sofie and got the tech inspection process started. There are 11 tech inspection stations for Hydrogen Prototype technical inspection: Weight, Horn, Timed Escape, Mechanical Systems, Hydrogen, Electrical Systems, Brake Test, Harness Test, Dimensions, Visibility, and Seat Belt. Sofie easily passed Weight, Timed Escape, Brake Test, Dimensions,  Seat Belt, and Visibility. The horn was not installed yet, and when we got to Mechanical, we had some fixes we needed to do for Sofie’s steering wheel post before we could pass that station. We moved on to Hydrogen anyways, which is typically one of the most difficult stations to pass, and we passed our hydrogen leak test on the first go! Unfortunately we weren’t able to finish our inspection because the Shell Eco-marathon Opening Ceremonies were beginning and tech inspection was closing until 2pm.

After the Opening Ceremonies, we did a bit more work before we had to go for the group photo with all the other teams. It was stiflingly hot out and some of our team members had to try various methods of staying cool and not burning!

After the group photo we were back to being focused on passing tech inspection. We brought Sofie back to tech inspection and passed everything but Electrical Systems. There were several small fixes we needed to complete before we could pass tech inspection.

Meanwhile, we were also working double-time on Alice – there was still quite a bit of electrical and mechanical work to be done before we could pass tech inspection. Tech inspection is open tomorrow as well; however, it is only open to teams who have attempted every single station the day before – you don’t have to pass every station, but you have to make an attempt at passing and not be disqualified. That meant that even though we knew Alice wasn’t ready to race, we still had to get her in line for tech inspection and try to get through all of the stations while making as many adjustments as possible along the way. Hydrogen has 12 stations in tech inspection to pass: all the same ones for Prototype, as well as Telemetry. We passed 5 of the stations: Brake Test, Dimensions, Weight, Timed Escape, and Visibility; however when we got to Mechanical Systems, there were quite a few issues. The front of Alice was hanging too low, so we would have to look into ways to raise the bottom; we also need to build some support around the fire wall to prevent it from bending. Additional items were fixing the windshield wiper and finishing the wiring for the horn, as well as numerous fixes for the Electrical Systems station.  We managed to get around to every station, so we will be eligible to go to tech inspection tomorrow and hopefully pass!

Back to Sofie, we finished the updates to Sofie’s electrical at 6:30pm and tech inspection closes at 7pm, so we rushed back to the Electrical Systems station and presented the changes to the technicians. At 6:55pm we passed Electrical Systems!! With barely 5 min to spare we received our technical and safety inspection stickers, meaning tomorrow at 8:30am we can begin racing with Sofie!

    Got Alice 1/2 through Tech…

Day 1 – Fixing up the cars

Day 0 – The Beginning of Competition

Featured sponsor: TEC Edmonton

 

We are pleased to announce that for the second year in a row, TEC Edmonton will be supporting the University of Alberta EcoCar team as a contributing sponsor.

TEC Edmonton is an Edmonton-based accelerator for emerging technology-based companies offering programs for business and professional development. Additionally, TEC Edmonton’s Technology Management team helps commercialize University of Alberta technologies. In 2017, the leadership they provided to the University of Alberta lead to four spin off companies and 29 US patents.

SEMA 2017 Day 4 Update

Like previous days, our team had an early start; at 6:00am our team took Sofie to line up for racing. Even though prototype races started at 9:30am, we lined up early to get near the front of the queue to ensure we would be one of the first to race. Despite our very early wake-up, there were a few teams in front of us in line. In line, we conditioned our fuel cell (similar to how an athlete warms up before a race or game, our fuel cell performs best after having been running for a bit) because it allows the membranes in the fuel cell to become hydrated.

Our team made significant changes to Sofie after racing her yesterday in order to improve our efficiency score. We put in a new gear which fit less tightly to lower friction and waste less energy, and we also modified the braking system so that the brakes did not rub against the wheel as much when not in use. We also improved the efficiency and performance of our fuel cell through an air starve and more conditioning, as well as optimizing our hydrogen purge strategy. We were confident these modifications would significantly improve Sofie’s performance, perhaps allowing us to propel ourselves to first place on the leaderboard.

As the racetrack opened up for the prototypes, our team spread around the track in anticipation of Sofie’s run. She came whizzing around the first lap, and at a much higher speed than yesterday due to the modifications made. However, after a couple of laps Sofie coasted to a stop after going over a bump. We believed this issue was due to the hydrogen safety board. We double checked all of our emergency stops, hydrogen system for leaks, and were unable to find any issues. We couldn’t find an issue, and we lined Sofie up in the queue to race again.

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Side story: our team quite enjoyed watching the other cars race. This year there were multiple collisions or close calls in the final turn of the course. It was a sharp turn with a steep hill to follow so the vehicles tried to keep as much speed coming out of the turn as they could. This even lead to two prototypes colliding, with one of them smashing into the side wall while the other prototype did a complete roll-over. We all held our breath for a second, not sure of the damage to the driver, but thankfully there appeared to be no injuries as they quickly got out of the car. The DWC (Driver’s World Championship Regionals) that happened near the end of the day also had some scary collisions due to the slick conditions and high speeds of the UrbanConcept vehicles. It was quite an exciting race.

Anyways, back to Sofie: our 2nd attempt was an eerily similar story to our first attempt… in exactly the same spot Sofie rolled to a stop. We were still unable to figure out what the issue was with they hydrogen safety board. We again lined Sofie up in the queue, and were working on trying to figure out the issue while in line.

3rd attempt: almost the same story, except this time we coasted to a stop about 10 meters ahead of where we stopped the last two times. With little time remaining before the track closed for prototypes, we raced Sofie back to the queue, but after a few minutes of waiting in line, we were turned away because there was no more time for us to race. Disappointment hung in the air as we rolled Sofie back to our paddock. After a brief team meeting, our team began packing up our trailer, cleaning up our paddock, and getting some lunch. We think this board issue might have stemmed from moving this board from Sofie to Alice for tech inspection yesterday, and then putting it back in Sofie to race.

All in all this competition was an incredible learning experience for us and we were so proud to see Sofie run and put a score on the leaderboard yesterday. This was the first competition for many of our team members, and I think this will prove to be invaluable experience for the future and into next year’s competition.

After packing up most of our paddock, our team took a bit of time to recharge before the awards ceremony. We were awarded $2000 for our 2nd place finish in the Hydrogen Prototype Category, and got a team picture with our cheque and trophy. Afterwards, we finished packing the trailer (and a few of us had a dance party in our paddock), and then headed off for a team dinner to celebrate the hectic, sleep-lacking, high-pressure weekend.

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ALICE goes to Telus World of Science!

We were once again out in the community with ALICE as part of celebrations for the inaugural International science center and science museum day at Telus world of science Edmonton. Team members were also on hand to share with excited students and their families,the technology behind ALICE and also their experiences competing at the Shell Eco marathon.

The event,which fell on the 10th of this month is part of a broader UNESCO initiative aimed at exploring the impact of institutions devoted to public science education and improving awareness among younger generations about climate and sustainability.  As part of our commitment to contributing to community discourse about sustainable automotive engineering,we were excited to get the chance to let participants interact with the vehicle and learn more about hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

We were also around to witness a giant eruption of thousands of ping pong balls billed as the “largest science experiment in Edmonton” and even got to meet a certain member of the legendary avian catapult species.