Students and faculty from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) won the 2010 Asia Shell EcoMarathon with a hydrogen fuel cell car. The car was able to attain approximately 1,400 miles per gallon equivalent to capture the $1,000 USD prize.
I’ve talked about the Shell EcoMarathon several times in the past and have been to one of their events. The cars don’t look at all like consumer automobiles as they are small, cramped, lightweight one-person vehicles geared towards squeezing out gas mileage.
In the winning Asian EcoMarathon car was a Horizon fuel cell. According to the company, “This year’s leading teams are now looking forward further developing and optimizing their power systems for next year’s race while Horizon Fuel Cell continues its development of higher performance, highly efficient fuel cell technologies. The company’s evolving hydrogen fuel cell technologies offers an attractive technological alternative that brings winning results to Eco-marathon competitors: ultra-light fuel cells with limited peripherals, increasing simplicity, reducing weight, and improving overall vehicle efficiency.”
It’s likely that some of the student engineers working on these hydrogen fuel cell cars will in the very near future graduate and go on to develop the next generation hydrogen cars that the rest of us will be driving.