Monday, April 20, 2009

1912.9 MPG!


The California Team
Bottom (from left): Laura Slingerland, Nicole Peterson
Top (from left): Pete Sullivan, Toby Snider, Jared Kloda, Matt Shiskowski, Leland Engel, Nate Troupe

I'm pleased to announce that the Penn State Eco-Marathon team achieved a fuel mileage of 1912.9 miles per gallon equivalent, and took first prize in the fuel cell division. We had a few struggles including tools arriving late, hydrogen leaks, and unsecured components; but were able to persevere and take home the prize.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Shipped Out

Our car and supplies were successfully shipped out this week, and the team will embark on Wednesday morning. All preparations now come down to logistics, strategy, maintenance and small changes to increase efficiency. The team is looking forward to our trip this week, and hopes it will be a success for not only Penn State, but also for ourselves.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Packed Up and Ready to Go

After extensive testing, modifying, and packing; the car is finally ready to embark on its long trip to the Eco-Marathon. The team spent most of each of the last 3 days working on the car, making small adjustments and last minute repairs. Today was spent packing up the car, along with everything we need for the competition. If all goes to plan, tomorrow we send the car on its way, and the team can rest easy for a week before we head out next Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No April Fools Here

After weeks of updating the innards of the car, we finally have a picture of the body. The vehicle dynamics team has placed the body on the car and I was able to grab a quick picture today of their progress. There are some minor adjustments needed, but the car has taken another step on the long road to California.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Drivers, Start Your Fuel Cells

Shown above from left to right: (Matt, Pete, Professor Engel)

Shown above: our driver Laura

Tonight we were able to get our driver, Laura, some seat time in the car. Since we finished the construction of the car (minus the body) on Friday, we were able to test out the brakes, throttle, steering, and pressure regulation of the car. All tests came back positive, with the only issue being a large turning radius. With some adjustments, and a yet to be installed carbon fiber body, the car should soon be in the form that will be unveiled at the Eco-Marathon in two weeks. The team is getting revved up for the competition, and looks forward to a rewarding experience.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Forward Motion

Success! Pete and I were able to hook up the hydrogen plumbing tonight with some unexpected help from a nearby professor and the car took its first steps toward California. After solving some leaking and control issues, the car performed well. At first we had trouble keeping the car running above a small velocity, but we increased the hydrogen inlet pressure and the car ran just fine. We plan on meeting on Sunday with the whole fuel cell team and parts of the vehicle dynamics team to try to hook up a laptop to the fuel cell and possibly fit the body onto the frame. By all indications, we are ready to start testing the car.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We have hydrogen!

Tonight our fuel cell team met with our Shell sponsor Buddy Bealer.  Buddy got his first look at our vehicle and gave us some advice to prepare for a smooth weekend of competition in California.  The wiring of our vehicle is now 100% complete.  Our throttle issue has been completely resolved, and most importantly we are now in possession of a filled hydrogen tank.  We are still having some slight difficulties communicating with our fuel cell.  The software on our laptop is not receiving any data from the fuel cell at this point.  We will be looking into this immediately.  Also we are in the process of acquiring a hydrogen sniffer from Dr. Anstrom to borrow for the next two weeks.  After we acquire the sniffer, we will start testing our fuel cell car around the Learning Factory parking lot.  Last year's team had only a day or two to test the fuel cell, so we strongly believe that by having two weeks of testing we can really optimize our fuel cell system.