University of Alberta students get hands-on education in international competition
The University of Alberta's EcoCar Team knew that in order to compete in the 2017 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas they needed leak-free parts, which is why they turned to Swagelok. Do you need our help with a project, get in touch today to see how we can help.
Long known for its importance in the oil and gas industry, Edmonton is also getting some attention in the world of alternative fuels for transportation. A team of students from the University of Alberta is making some fast progress with using fuel cells in cars.
The EcoCar Team is a student-run engineering organization that designs and builds prototype vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The team primarily races at the annual Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, held in Detroit. The marathon has different classes of competition based on how the vehicle is powered: fuel cell, solar cell, gasoline, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas. Cars must average at least 24 km/h over a distance of 16 km.
The University of Alberta team placed second in its category in 2012, the team's first year of competition, and came in first in 2014. The second-generation vehicle took two years to build and captured another first in 2016. Technical glitches hampered performance in this year's Eco-Marathon, but the team still took home $2,000 for a second-place place finish.
Where we fit in
We first encountered the students this past February when they came to us for some fittings and other miscellaneous components. Student-led projects don't get much funding, so we were glad to donate the parts, and get them quickly so that work could stay on schedule. In return for the favor, they put the Edmonton Valve & Fitting logo on the EcoCar.
Each prototype starts from scratch.
"I saw it at the beginning stages, and it didn't really look like much, and then I saw it at the end. It was pretty neat to see the finished product," says Andrew Worthington, one of our account managers. "It's high intensity work, 30 to 50 hours a week on top of classes. It's essentially a second full-time job."
The project brings together several academic disciplines, so the students get an opportunity to use their education in a real-world application.
Before Shell will let any competitors on the test track, each car must pass an inspection. If there are any leaks from the fuel cell, the car won't get the green light. Thanks to the Swagelok parts, that was no problem this year.
Do you have a project that needs to roll out leak-free and on time? Edmonton Valve & Fitting has the components and the expertise to get you there. It's easy to start the discussion through our website or by calling 780-437-0640.
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