The University of Toledo University Transportation Center

TTA Fuel Cell Go Kart Project

Focus Area: K-12 Alternate Energy

Principal Investigator:

Ted Richardson
Toledo Technology Academy
3301 Upton Avenue
Toledo, OH 43613

Project Dates: 07/01/2010 – 06/30/2011

Project Award: FY2011

UT-UTC Designation: TTA-3


The Alternative Energies Team is an extracurricular program that involves approximately 20% of the student body. The AET has investigated bio-fuels, solar energy, wind energy and hydrocarbons. They have developed projects using alternative energies to power test vehicles. The team has converted or built go-karts that are powered by propane, electricity, and E-85. They have produced a hybrid vehicle for the Toledo Zoo that is powered by electricity and propane with the intention to convert to bio-gas (methane generated from animal waste) when time and funding permits. The team has investigated bio-fuel production by experimenting with transesterification of vegetable oils and anaerobic digestion of elephant waste.

Students have presented their karts at car shows and other public functions where they have explained the energy efficiency of hybrid vehicles and the different fuel source options for vehicles to the public. The TTA go-karts have been pace cars for several Junior Achievement Gran Prix races bringing attention to the different energy sources available.

Anongoing goal of the AET is to explore alternate energies for transportation. The goal for this grant program will be to produce a hydrogen fuel cell – battery hybrid vehicle. Within the scope of the budget available for this project a go-kart type vehicle will be undertaken. A larger or full size vehicle would require fuel cell capacity beyond what we can afford. We will attempt to produce a vehicle that operates with a 1 kilowatt fuel cell. A hybrid will be undertaken for the same reason. Sufficient fuel cells to solely power a vehicle would require more cells than we can afford.

Students will learn the energy content of different fuels, the inefficiencies of energy conversion, the obstacles to alternative energies, difficulties in developing alternate energy infrastructures, and problem solving strategies. Inquiry based learning by its very nature is open ended. It is difficult to predict all that will be learned by the students. As they discover the answers to some problems new problems and directions are discovered. Energy conversion and efficiency is an integral part of the Manufacturing Engineering Technology curriculum that our school delivers.


UT-UTC Grant 
Total Project 
Last Updated: 6/9/16