This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 03, 2003

Six High Schools Win the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Challenge

You know you're getting old when there's some new technology that you've heard of but never seen in person, yet high-school students are already toying around with it. Fuel cells are the latest technology to help us older folks feel anachronistic, as ten high school teams from around the country competed last week in the first annual Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge. General Motors Corporation (GM) provided the components for the cars, and GM and DOE engineers gave technical advice to the student teams, who built model cars up to a foot wide and two feet long. The cars used solar power to generate hydrogen, then used miniature fuel cells to convert that hydrogen into electricity to power the cars' electric motors. Six of the teams won prizes in two races—one for speed, and one for climbing the steepest incline. See the DOE press release.

The competition was part of the National Science Bowl, an academic competition in which the winners of 66 regional Science Bowl competitions vie to see which team knows the most about science. This year, 13,000 students at 1,800 schools participated in the Science Bowl. The competition reached its climax on Monday, as Thomas Jefferson High School of Alexandria, Virginia, won the national championship. See the DOE press release.

Meanwhile, DOE is helping us older folks get involved in fuel cells, too. In late April, DOE announced plans to start two projects, valued at a total of $213 million, to develop solid-state fuel cells. Teams led by FuelCell Energy, Inc. and Acumentrics Corporation will embark on the fuel-cell projects as part of DOE's Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance program. See the DOE press release.