MCCC Engineering Students Unveil Hydrogen-Fueled Concept Car

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Confident, passionate, and energized, a team of Montgomery County Community College Engineering students yesterday unveiled Project INNOVA, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car, which will compete against other concept cars from across the nation at the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas in Detroit, Michigan, April 27-30.

Team Leader Julie Scott became emotional talking about the car and the team of 15 students, advised by Associate Professor of Engineering William Brownlowe, who have worked on the car for the past two years.

“It’s been an amazing team and an amazing journey,” Scott said. “Each time a challenge has been set, these folks have answered the call.” 

The team put the car together almost entirely from scratch, welding together the ultra-light aluminum frame, making the steering wheel and other parts on a 3D printer, and using their engineering skills to create the car’s hydrogen fuel cell system, custom brakes and other vital components to make the car run.

Along the way, however, they had strong support. Representatives from PECO, which has been helping to fund the project from the beginning, presented the team with a check for $10,000.

“PECO is happy to continue our partnership with Montgomery County Community College,” said Tony Gay, vice president for governmental and external relations for PECO. “This is a great place for people to come to start their educational process or continue it.”

Nine members of the team are traveling to Detroit for the competition, which will include teams from colleges and universities across the United States. Brownlowe said that the team had to apply to compete, and was one of only 125 teams accepted for the competition.

“We’re running with the big dogs here, and we’re very proud of that,” Brownlowe said. “I have good confidence we will do well this year.”

Dr. James Bretz, interim dean of the STEM Division at the College, said it was a very talented team, and that the College loves to give students these types of opportunities to showcase what they can do.

“This is an extension of our commitment to experiential learning at the College,” Bretz said. “This is an opportunity to do science in addition to learning about science.” 

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