Students from Temasek Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and Nanyang Technological University find success using hydrogen power
“Where should the fuel for our cars come from?” is a major topic in the energy sector at the moment, as depleting fossil fuels and pollution concerns (remember Dieselgate?) force the exploration of alternative energy sources.
In Singapore’s case, the answer to that question might just be hydrogen, at least based on the success that student teams had in the recent 2018 Shell Eco-Marathon Asia, held at Changi Exhibition Centre on March 8 to 11.
Three teams from local tertiary institutions, namely Temasek Polytechnic (TP), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), as well as one from University of Malaya in Malaysia, were the only entrants (out of 120 Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern entries in total) to build a hydrogen-powered car, instead of a battery electric vehicle or an internal combustion-powered one.
Institue of Technical Education’s BEV entry Electrolite
NTU’s 3D-Printed Car (below) was the sole entrant in the UrbanConcept, Hydrogen category. In the Prototype, Hydrogen category, TP’s Eco Flash (top image) took the victory, and NP’s H2GO was first runner-up.
It was an momentous achievement for TP as this was their first time competing in Shell Eco-Marathon, and even more impressively, they developed their own hydrogen fuel cell system.
“We are the only team using our own fuel cell this year, which is smaller and lighter (than competing units) but has comparable power,” said Alvin Wilson, a member of TP’s Eco Flash team. This enabled them to build a much smaller car – made of a carbonfibre monocoque, the entire car weighs just 58kg.
There’s a good possibility that a pioneering breakthrough in energy solutions might one day come from a Shell Eco-marathon alumni. That’s because the competition challenges students to design, engineer, and build the most energy-efficient car possible. As such, it provides real-world experience that is of great interest to automotive manufacturers and suppliers.
Singapore University of Technology and Design’s team members prepping their car
“We want to spark a passion in students and encourage them to go into STEM fields,” said Norman Koch, General Manager of Shell Eco-marathon. “The big takeaway of Shell Eco-marathon is that annually 5000 brains go into the industry with the knowledge and experience of how to tackle our energy and mobility challenges, and from there the diversity of our energy sources will increase.”