UBC’s Chem-E-Car team wins at regional competition and advances to Nationals

UBC’s Chem-E-Car team will be heading to the National Chem-E-Car competition sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and Chevron in San Francisco on November 1-4.

Team members Colleen Chau, Joel Kumlin, Norvin Ng, Tyler Pfanner, and Gary Wang will present and run an innovative model-sized vehicle that is powered by a chemical reaction. The car’s electricity is provided by a hydrogen fuel cell, using hydrogen gas which is chemically produced on-board.

UBC Chem-E ‘powered through’ the Regional Pacific Northwest competition that was held this April, which qualified them for the final contest hosted in the United States.

Chem-E-Car is an annual competition organized by the AIChE that recognizes university teams that design, construct and calibrate a model-sized car fuelled by a student-chosen chemical reaction. The car must run a specified distance and stop upon reaching it, all while carrying a given cargo.

The car’s stopping mechanism must be purely chemical, as no electronic, physical or mechanical timing-systems are allowed to stop it.

The specified cargo and distance the car must travel are different for every competition and teams are only told the exact parameters one hour before ‘starting the engines’.

UBC Chem-E has achieved success in the past. In 2011, it placed first in the Pacific Northwest Regionals and sixth out of thirty-one teams from North America at Nationals. The team hopes to outdo itself this year.

Anant Gugi, Adam Johnston, Abhi Kamble, Daniel Korvin, Perry Li, Johnson Liu, Kirsten Meng, Ruben Phing, Jacob Sternig and Timothy Tse are also working towards the future success of the team.

UBC Chem-E-Car designs all the components of the car and is grateful to work with CHBE’s own machine shop and Daniel Paterson, both providing invaluable (and still needed) help and tools to fabricate components.

UBC Chem-E-Car is supervised by graduate student advisor Andrew Wang and professors Elod Gyenge and Fariborz Taghipour.

UBC Chem-E-Car team (left to right): Gary Wang, Tyler Pfanner, Colleen Chau, Joel Kumlin and Norvin Ng

UBC Chem-E-Car team (left to right): Gary Wang, Tyler Pfanner, Colleen Chau, Joel Kumlin and Norvin Ng