Mission & Vision
QFCT has two goals: to develop commercial applications of fuel cells, and to provide a valuable, hands on learning experience for the students involved with the team. By empowering students to design, build and exhibit fuel cell projects, QFCT is fostering student growth as well as the utilization of fuel cell technology. By promoting student and industry growth in the green energy sector, QFCT is ensuring that the future of the world is in good hands.
The Queen's Fuel Cell Team (QFCT) is an interfaculty, undergraduate design team headquartered in the Integrated Learning Centre at Queen's University. Affiliated with the Queen's-RMC Fuel Cell Research Centre (FCRC), the Queen's Fuel Cell Team is entirely student run. The primary goal of the team is to provide a hands on learning environment for students, and to harbour relevant projects which can allow for the real world application of classroom skills.
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July 27, 2015
This summer we are very happy to have two SWEP (Student Work Experience Program) students working full time for the team – Mackenzie Wootton and Ian Lemieux. They have been working very hard on two main projects: first, developing introductory courses, tutorials, and organizing other educational resources for team members to learn from this year (developing sort of ELEC 101 and Fuel Cells 101 courses); and second, improving and putting the final touches on the golf cart.
Some background on the golf cart: Our team’s first large project was the conversion of a small golf cart to run with an alkaline fuel cell. Last year this project was started again with the goal of making it run with a new hydrogen system. After about a year and a half of work by our chemical, mechanical, and electrical team members, the golf cart works again. With a 1kW PEM fuel cell from Horizon, the golf cart runs on either battery power or power from the fuel cell – it currently switches back and forth with the flip of a switch, but this year we hope to develop the system further so that it can monitor itself and switch more efficiently.
A lot of the work this summer has focused on improving the safety systems, the organization, and the documentation of the golf cart. The display and auxiliary system have been redone: now the cart has fully functioning lights (tail lights, reverse lights, head lights, lights inside the ‘hood’ that turn on when the seat is lifted), and a complex display system that alerts drivers to every change in the system (a ready to drive sound, voltage and current monitors, etc). Will post another update soon that shows the systems and the new changes in better detail!
This year definitely ran away without us finding the chance to post too much on the blog! Over the summer we're going to try to fill you all in on our year. We had a really successful year - we got our golf cart running on a hydrogen fuel cell, we took a working electric snowmobile to the SAE competition in Michigan, and we're about to start a couple new big projects this fall. More updates to come, but first here is a recap of the competition from our Stack Team Co-Manager Elyse:
Hosted in Houghton, Michigan, the Clean Snowmobile Competition "is run by the Society of Automotive Engineers to develop the skills of engineering students and encourage students to improve and innovate within snowmobile design industry. The competition served to bring together hard-working individuals interested in using their hands-on skills and creative reasoning to develop an electrically-powered snowmobiles and, for the Queen’s Fuel Cell Team, it was a success!
On the first day, our team arrived with our 2011 Skandic Tundra LT and the team consulted the judges to ensure that we were meeting the safety requirements they deemed important. Since the industry-approved high voltage disconnect (HVD) had not been installed, the team had to disconnect the high voltage Anderson connections within the battery box before the snowmobile could be operated on. After ordering this part, it was installed on the left hand side of the vehicle to ensure that an accessible element could be removed from the system. As well, the proper rounded corner lugs were installed onto the contactors within the battery box. At this time, our Snowmobile was ready for the public display and presentation, where the team was featured in a local newspaper. The public display event also provided the opportunity to network with industry professionals from companies including AVL Instrumentation & Test Systems, Inc., Chrysler, BASF, and DENSO.
The technical presentation took placed on March 5th to display the team’s knowledge of our snowmobile system design and the future goals of the team. On Friday, March 6th, the team wrapped-up coding the Arduino and submitted the snowmobile for technical inspection. Unfortunately, the snowmobile did not meet all the criteria to pass the technical inspection and participate in the Draw Bar Pull, Range Test, Cold Start, Objective Handling and Drivability. Essentially, the judges we not completely confident in the design of the snowmobile’s electrical system. While the team did not stay for the banquet to confirm this, we believe we came in 3rd place (only 2 teams passed inspection this year, one of them being the team from Finland with $1.8 million of funding).
The team is excited to report that this is first year we have an operational snowmobile and, the future goals of the team are to work with the judges to pass the technical inspection. "
After a long, rewarding week, the competition is over.
It all started with an early morning and after a long drive and a longer wait at the border we checked into the hotel and brought our 12 foot trailer over to the large hanger where all the other teams from around both Canada and the USA were unpacking and running tests on their respective snowmobiles.
QFCT has been working hard for the past three months to get ready for the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2014!
The competition goal for this year is passing the rigorous SAE electrical safety inspection. We've been designing the electrical and mechanical systems with safety at the forefront of all plans. By designing an EV sled that meets SAE standards, we will have a robust, capable powertrain which can handle the incorporation of a hydrogen PEM fuel cell.
Developments from the summer include our new electric motor test bench, which you can see below. This will allow for a fully controlled environment to test the tractive system.
This bench is designed to hold our 5-module Li-Poly battery system and our AC motor. The battery casing has gone through multiple prototype phases and is now ready for production in its final iteration. The design will make it easy to transfer the skeleton system from the bench onto the snowmobile.
Many parts have come in over the past month and more are set to arrive soon. One that we're particularly excited about is a new 1 kW hydrogen PEM stack from Horizon! This brand-new system will be going into our golf cart, which lost its old stack due to degradation. Expect to see us around campus, emitting only water during our tests. This golf cart project is a great base project for incoming students to get their hands dirty. Simple components and low power but still a big enough challenge for our ambitious team to tackle. Custom Carts has been very informative and helpful with the restoration of our old golf cart, they have almost every part for this type of project.
There's plenty more to talk about, so stay tuned for later updates! A huge thanks to all our sponsors, especially Shell for supporting us through their SELF initiative.