Friday, 14 December 2012

Coming and Going

As exams are winding down and Queen's students are starting to head home for the holiday break, activity over at the QFCT office is ramping up.

The past two weeks have seen the delivery of the battery control system, the battery cells themselves and the motor mount which was custom machined for the snowmobile. The delivery of these parts represents a huge step forward for the team which has been hard at work in the design phase over the past few months. 

Now, the members will have the opportunity to put their ideas into form over the course of the next term, culminating in the competition in March. As if this wasn't enough, the team has finished assembling our brand new custom built snowmobile stand!

When the team reconvenes in January, they'll begin assembly of the system from the batteries to the motor and the next major challenge will be addressed: purchasing the hydrogen tank and the fuel cell itself!

There's a lot of excitement around the QFCT office these days and we appreciate the support of our team members and our sponsors as we continue to realize our vision for the team.

From everyone at QFCT: happy holidays and as always, stay tuned!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

All Talk: A Great Conversation About Fuel Cells

In the interest of getting the word out on campus about the team and the exciting evolution of fuel cell technology, we organized a talk featuring our resident experts, Professors Pharoah and Peppley. When we approached them they were eager to help because as Ph.D Pharoah said on many an occasion 'We need to do talks, we need to connect with more people to help move this industry forward'. The talk itself involved the two Professors talking about the past, present and future of their industry and their research with a passion that was easy to hear. The lecture gave way into a pizza filled question period that felt more like an informative conversation between the Ph.Ds and the well attended auditorium. Because this event was so successful we at QFCT hope to organize several more over the course of the school year. As always stay tuned!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Batteries and Hurricanes

What's going on at QFCT?

In a word: lots.

In twenty-three: Our design teams have determined the final specs for the batteries and battery controller that will provide the juice for our electric snowmobile. Go ahead and count them. 

Despite nature's best efforts (Hurricane Sandy is eyeing Kingston like it's a 22 ounce porterhouse), these parts are being ordered this week and will be arriving over the course of November. Our members are anxious to begin assembling the components that they so painstakingly selected and researched.

In the meantime however, other projects are coming together quickly such as the designing of the mounting brackets for the motor and stack, continuing to create 3d models of the assembly and finding the right chemical combination that will be able to clean a particularly stubborn whiteboard (see left).

Meanwhile, the operations side of the team is hard at work planning the first big on-campus event of the year for which more information will be released shortly. Thanks for catching up with QFCT and, as always, stay tuned!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Start of a New Year

With start of another school year, the Queen’s Fuel Cell team is abuzz with activity. This year is kicking off with some exciting news: For the first time in the team’s history we are registered for the SAE Snowmobile Challenge in Michigan! Come March, we will be competing against dozens of other schools in a number of challenges intended to push our fuel cell snowmobile to the limit. But before we can put our electric snowmobile through the ropes, we need to build it. In the past few weeks, we have recruited our general members and divided them into teams who are all hard at work on their respective projects be they mechanical, electrical, fuel cell or Gentech. For now, most of this work involves coming up with a comprehensive model of the new fuel cell driven motor assembly which our stripped-bare Bombardier snowmobile is ready to accept. This year’s project is taking off quickly so stay tuned!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

History of the Project

Hello Everyone!

I’m glad to be writing my first blog post for QFCT; I’m sure more will come in the future. As was touched on last week, the team is a group of organized engineering and commerce students driving toward a common goal. This goal is of course, to create the world’s first fuel cell powered snowmobile!

Let’s dive into the history of this project as a whole; I’ll try my best to give the most accurate rendition from my point of view. I joined the team in 2009; a couple of months after the project had started. The team was small and I was the first commerce student to join. We had acquired a snowmobile, which actually spurred the interest in starting this project. I heard that there were a few other ideas down the pipeline but we were determined – after receiving the snowmobile – to pursuit what is our current project today!

The cornerstone of this project was in research; most of the difficulties that we faced within the coming months rooted from this. After a year of this, we had hit the summer with high hopes of springing the project along very quickly. Fortunately, we had a strong team of four students working on the project and had high levels of success in these areas. This summer, in combination with our organizations restructuring has changed the team into what we are today. The snowmobile project is really a team defining project; we are basically designing our team around the project rather than the other way around!
At the start of this school year we made a very large push to expand and reorganize the team. This was a massive success; we now boast over 50 members and have a significant number of students who are not engineers who have shown interest in the team.

Through the initial research and the recent restructuring of our team; we are gearing up to have an awesome close to the second part of this school year!

Till Next Time

Mark Lukas
Commerce 2013
Sponsorship Manager
Queen’s Fuel Cell Team

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Garage Hours Week of January 30th

So lets start off this post by diving into a bit of what QFCT is. The team has over 50 members that handle everything from designing the support systems for our fuel cell, to designing and adding new content to our website  The members work together on projects during the year, and we have regularly scheduled garage hour sessions during the week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30.  These sessions give members an opportunity to work in the team space on the BRP snowmobile, and interact with the other groups.

As mentioned earlier, we meet every Tuesday and Thursday, and the last week was no exception. This week was a great week in garage hours for the team.  The fuel cell stack teams have been working to decide on the system we will use, and serious progress was made.  We were able to get in touch with potential suppliers, and we are confident we will have a stack chosen shortly.  The mechanical teams have made progress on designing the transmission.  One of the main projects a student is obtaining credit for (counting towards his engineering degree) is designing the enclosure for the batteries.  The enclosure is being designed so that it can only be opened when the power is off, and will also act as an insulator (temperature and electric wise).  Eventually when the number of batteries has been chosen, the student will build and install the case.  This is one of the best examples of how the team provides students with real life engineering design work, which they may not get through their degree program!

We'll be keeping you posted every week about what we get up to in garage hours. Hope this update has been informativ, and we'll back next week to give another update!


Thursday, 26 January 2012



We, the members of the Queen's Fuel Cell Team, would like to welcome you to our new blog! We hope that you find this blog entertaining, informative, and perhaps even educational! This blog is intended to be a channel on which we can share with the public our discoveries, decisions, research, failures, and successes - all of which helps us to document our past and light the path forward.

So what is the Queen's Fuel Cell Team exactly? Well, it would not be entirely out of place to suggest that we are a hard working, inter-disciplinary group of students with a keen eye for detail and an eager sense of discovery. That's why we're pressing forward with our ground breaking project - the design and build of an entirely hydrogen fuel cell powered snowmobile, something which to this date has never been done!

So we mentioned the snowmobile, but left you hanging on the details...(sorry!). Needless to say, there will be more details coming, so be sure to stay tuned. The long and the short of the situation is that we are nearing design completion, and are in the process of acquiring components so that we can race to the finish line. But as the old saying goes : "how an adventure ends doesn't matter. Because that isn't the point of an adventure". While we may be completing this snowmobile, we are gaining valuable experience to better ourselves as students of engineering and commerce. We learn from the project and each other in how to design, implement, and manage various aspects of a large scale project. Our goal right now is to enter our fuel cell snowmobile in the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2013

This is just a taste of what we are doing, but please check back for more in the coming months. And if you happen to be at Queen's, come check us out in the ILC, we'll be happy to show you what we're up to!
And if you are interested in helping us continue our adventure,just hop on over to our sponsorship page on our website.

Warmest regards,
The Queen's Fuel Cell Team