We had a blast at the Engineering Students’ Society Carnival (also known as Eng Carnival)! There was immense interest shown in EcoCar and we really hope to see our ranks increase this year. Thank you to all the wonderful people who came out to have fun and learn about EcoCar and the other engineering groups. A very special thank you as well to the Engineering Students’ Society for organizing this event and making it possible.
April 2, 2012
Today is the first day of the return journey back to Edmonton. The majority of the team will be flying; however, two of us will still be driving the truck and trailer back.
As we didn’t want to take the same route back to Edmonton, we decided that we would head north west out of Houston. After reaching El Paso we will turn north into New Mexico. Then head west into Arizona and then up north through Utah, Idaho, Montana, and then Alberta. This would be a several day journey and there would be lots to see along the way. We are excited to get started. It is great that the stress from the competition is now over and the EcoCar team was able to place so successfully.
March 31, 2012
Saturday began early and the team hoped to quickly pass the technical inspection and get the vehicle on the track. We had already missed our opportunities to race on Friday and did not want to continue that today.
Following some minor tweaks to the vehicle we were able to get almost everything ready for technical inspection. As there was a slalom component of the technical inspection we needed to have our fuel cell system functioning first. For this we needed to prove to the Shell hydrogen representatives that our system had no leaks. Following a tense several hours hunting miniscule hydrogen leaks with a hydrogen “sniffer” sensor we passed the leak check and had our tank.
March 30, 2012
Friday morning started early with the rest of the team arriving from the airport. Following a quick breakfast provided by the event organizers the 3 team drivers attended the drivers meeting and track walk around. Here the details of the track were discussed and the different driving rules were explained. Following this were the opening ceremonies where the event was officially kicked off by the mayor of Houston and Shell Executives.
March 29, 2012
This is the last day of the drive down to Houston and we finally entered Texas. Coming south from Kansas, it took us all by surprise at how green the scenery was. Everything was green on the highway and we even got our fair share of thunder showers as we neared Houston.
Around 6:00PM we reached Houston and navigated the highway systems to get to the George R Brown Convention Centre where we would be competing. Parking behind the convention centre it took the remainder of the evening to carry the EcoCar and all of the equipment and tools from the trailer to our work station and booth in the convention centre. Several of the halls of the convention centre had been used for the event. In Hall B there was a ¼ mile test track set up for teams to trial their vehicles before participating in the actual race. Hall C had 115 work stations set up; one for each team. We were near the rear left corner in a row with all of the other teams running hydrogen vehicles. Over the course of the event we would get to know these teams really well. Then in part of Hall C and most of Hall D there was the technical inspection stations and slalom course. Each vehicle was required to go through all of the technical inspection stations and the slalom course before being allowed to partake in the races.
March 28, 2012
Waking up to a brisk morning, the truck and trailer continue to trek south east. It didn’t take long to pass into Wyoming and there is a switch to red tinted highways.
As the day progresses the temperature steadily climbs to 25oC. It’s another perfect day for driving to the EcoCar to competition. Some notable events for the day include crossing “North Fork Crazy Woman”, “Middle Fork Crazy Woman”, and “South Fork Crazy Woman” creeks.
March 26, 2012
Following an all day and all night build session, the vehicle was ready for the 10am media send off event. The media turn out was awesome! A big thank you all the different stations and newspapers that were able to attend. Our team and sponsors really appreciate the coverage. Following some quick interviews and a vehicle drive demo the car was brought back into the shop and a day of finishing touches began.
Below is a team picture provided by Shell of our team receiving the medals, cheque and trophy for Second Place in the Fuel Cell – Urban Concept Division at the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas in Houston, Texas!
Second Place Fuel Cell UrbanConcept winner University of Alberta with Dick Williams, President, Shell WindEnergy, and Bob Pease, President and CEO of Motiva Enterprises during the Awards Ceremony at Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2012 on Sunday, April 1, in downtown Houston. HO No Restrictions
After a long tough weekend with many curve-balls thrown at our team, we are proud to be able to come home with the Second Place Trophy in the Hydrogen Fuel Class! We were able to attain 26 km/l which broke last years record and we were very close to the first place team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who attained 28 km/l! This is a great result for our team’s first competition! We are very proud of the outcome and hope to continue to get better and better in international competitions!
Here’s just a couple pictures of our team’s Electrical Lead Jared Geisinger working away in the Design Lab at the University of Alberta.