MHS Robotics Team to study hydrogen fuel

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A News for MHS Robotics:

mhs robotics teamThe team — one of 50 in the nation and only four in South Carolina — was chosen to participate in a Green Machine competition to retrofit a robotic vehicle engine with a hydrogen fuel cell.

Nancy Zende, the Mauldin High team adviser, said the team’s acceptance into the competition is “a testimony to what we’ve been able to do in the past and to our willingness to take on additional challenges.”

The team has also taken on additional members, she said, almost doubling from last year to this year.

The 40-plus team members also have more adult volunteers and business community mentors because of the project, Zende said.

The project, which began in September and will culminate in May during a competition in Cleveland, hinges on the team’s ability to master hydrogen safety and polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell construction, application and maintenance concepts.

Basically, the team will retrofit one of its battery-operated robots to run on a hydrogen cell, she said.

Most of the work now is research, but game design and construction phases are coming.

In January, the team will launch a six-week build period for its annual competition season.

Team members have an “amazing enthusiasm” for the project, she said.

As well as preparing for the actual competition, the team is focusing on how and how soon the technology can be accessed and used by the individual, particularly in commuter situations, she said.

“There may come a day within the lifetime of these students when they see hydrogen fuel cells as the main means of powering automobiles,” Zende said.

She added she has always viewed the Robotics Team as a means of preparing the students for jobs that don’t exist yet, and that this project emphasizes that opportunity.

This is a “significant opportunity to get in on the ground-floor level on what may turn out to be an important industry in this state,” Zende said.

“South Carolina is positioning itself to be a leader in the hydrogen fuel cell (industry).”

The Mauldin Robotics team will display one of its robots Oct. 11 at the Roper Mountain Science Center.

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