Moraine Park receives hobby-model hydrogen cars

by speitz17. December 2010 06:34

Hydrogen is the simplest element on the planet but, when it’s combined with metal, a surge of power can result.  Always looking for ways to get the community excited about sustainability, Moraine Park Technical College recently purchased two hobby grade Remote Control (RC) cars — fueled by the power of hydrogen.

Underneath the shell of these small hobby cars lies the latest technology in hydrogen fuel. They are two of the world's only hydrogen fuel cell hybrid power-train for high performance hobby grade model RC vehicles. Matt Hurtienne, Moraine Park’s dean of informational technology, explained what this means for sustainability and for Moraine Park.

According to Hurtienne, the hydrogen cars are powered through the combination of water and metal. The reaction causes electricity, and the electricity creates power for the small cars to operate.

Purchased through a Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) energy grant, the cars are perfect for demonstrating to middle and high school students the use and importance of hydrogen power for our environment. “Water surrounds us,” said Hurtienne. “It’s clean and accessible, but technology makes it expensive to use water to power vehicles because of the equipment needed.  Because water is a renewable source, science needs to look this way, and we hope getting area students excited about this concept will be a start.”

Starting in spring, Moraine Park plans to pair their existing renewable energy trailer (also purchased with funds from the WIRED grant) with the two hydrogen cars — taking the vehicles to area high schools and middle schools to build interest in hydrogen fuel and getting students to consider future careers in the sciences and sustainability.

“As a technical college, Moraine Park prides itself on being innovative and educated about the latest technology. We are hoping a hands-on demonstration like these cars will really intrigue middle and high school students,” said Hurtienne. “These may just be hobby cars, but it gives the community a glimpse of the larger hydrogen vehicles that will be present in the very near future.” For more information on Moraine Park’s sustainability efforts, visit morainepark.edu/sustainability.