HOLA’s Sci-Arts Team Qualifies for State Semi-Finals at the H2AC RC Challenge
BY ANNA MARTIN, HOLA EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT & PROJECT MANAGER
In 2017, Heart of LA’s Science and Technology Director, Abraham Orozco received an invitation for HOLA to apply to participate in the Hydrogen Horizons Automotive Challenge (H2AC), a global program that lets students tackle the problem of global climate change by using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) to explore renewable energy solutions. HOLA applied and was chosen to be one of only 20 teams (and the only after-school program team!) that would compete in the Hydrogen RC Car challenge in Southern California. Other teams were chosen to compete in competitions in Northern California, Florida, France, and the Czech Republic.
The program began in September and was divided into three phases: Defining the Problem, Designing a Solution, and Testing the Solution. HOLA’s team of seven students spent several weeks learning about the real world problem of climate change, followed by several weeks of designing a solution to climate change; the hydrogen fuel cell powered automobile. Students designed this RC car using Autodesk software and spent weeks testing what their car was capable of, pinpointing its performance limitations and making adjustments to maximize it’s efficiency in the third and final stage. Months of planning, engineering and testing culminated on February 10th when all 20 Southern California H2AC teams competed against each other in a 4-hour endurance race challenge. The team to complete the most laps with their Hydrogen Fuel Cell RC Car in 4 hours wins, with the top five teams moving on to the Semi-Finals in Northern California. Teams are broken up into drivers and pit-crew technicians and take turns performing their duties in half hour intervals during the 4-hour period.
The winning team, and HOLA’s mentor team, The Oakwood School, completed a total of 811 laps. HOLA’s team managed to complete 464 laps, coming in 5th place behind two private schools and two STEAM Legacy High School Teams. All four other winning teams participated as part of their high school’s curriculum for school credit. HOLA’s team members worked after school and on weekends to complete the challenge. Additionally, HOLA’s team had only seven members where most other teams had close to 20 team members, meaning each of HOLA’s 7 team members had to work especially hard to pull the team through the 4-hour challenge.
Not only did HOLA’s team place in the top 5 and qualify to compete in the Semi-Finals in Sacramento, they won the award for Best Video, which documented their process and what they learned about global climate change. Watch the video above!
To learn more about Heart of Los Angeles’ Scientific Arts programming, visit https://www.heartofla.org/scientific-arts/