The Propulsion sub-team of Chem-E-Car is responsible for designing an energy source to propel the car. This powerhouse of the car could range from fuel-cells to combustion engines, and it is designed to provide consistent voltage output during the performance competition.
Currently, Propulsion is working with a galvanic cell, specifically an Aluminum-Air battery for the AIChE Chem-E-Car 2022 National competition. Since we have already tested the battery’s performance, and it has worked well in the Chem-E-Car Regional competition (which we won 1st place in!), we are aiming to simply calibrate the performance while not making too many drastic changes to the battery reaction and design. Our main focus has been, and will continue to be, testing the battery stack to improve and document its reliability.
We are also researching ways to improve the performance of the fuel cells. We are currently looking into the effects of surface textures on the overall reaction surface area, and consequently the voltage output. We will be working with the Mechanical sub-team to look at battery enclosures to ensure all AIChE safety guidelines are continuing to be met and that the fuel cell containment does not impede performance. Our main goal for Chem-E-Car nationals competition is to run as many trial runs as possible with the full car to ensure we can document any issues with the mechanism itself and strengthen our chances of it being reliable on competition day.