On Saturday, April 30, the University of Toronto Chemical Vehicles (UTCV) student group will be competing in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Chem-E-Car Competition. This competition draws in multidisciplinary design teams from across North America and allows them to exhibit their cars powered by chemical energy sources. The competition will run from 9AM to noon and is available for live stream starting at 8:30AM. We encourage our ChemE community to tune in and cheer on our UTCV students, as they demonstrate their shoebox-sized electric vehicle, powered and controlled by chemical reactions.
Fourth-year ChemE student Jinmyung Jang, who co-leads UTCV, recently shared the value he and his teammates have gained from the group. Read what he has to say.
How does UTCV provide empowerment to its team members?
UTCV is a tight-knit design team, where members have the opportunity to learn and work together towards the common goal of innovating and performing in the AIChE Chem-E-Car Competition. We are a club where members are encouraged and able to take initiative, drive changes, and see their impact on the team in a short turnaround time, whether it is with respect to the design or club operation.
What are the learning outcomes tied to participation in UTCV?
Participation in UTCV allows members to obtain a variety of technical experiences including wet chemistry laboratories, battery building, data analysis, circuit, and chassis design. Members also develop systematic problem-solving skills through many design challenges we encounter. In addition, the members are able to develop various leadership skills through working with their peers, other division members, and division leads. Members also have the opportunity to become division leads and presidents, where they can further develop these skills. It is a rare experience! To have that is incredibly meaningful for both personal and professional development.
Does participation in UTCV help build personal and professional connections?
Absolutely. Members are encouraged to form strong bonds with each other. We host team social gatherings outside the club to facilitate team bonding sessions. Past and current members have reflected on their experience in UTCV and shared that their experience was greatly helpful in achieving their professional goals. For example, last year, we had a member in the power division going into a Toronto battery energy storage start-up, e-Zinc, for their PEY Co-op!
How has UTCV done in past AIChE Chem-E-Car Competitions?
Our first competition was in 2018, where we placed 9th/21 teams. In 2019, we scored 6th/12 teams. In 2020 and 2021, our team was not able to participate due to COVID-19. For the upcoming competition this Saturday, we expect up to 25 teams to attend. We are so excited to present the outcome of our hard work, which would not have been possible without the guidance and support of our supervisor Professor Cathy Chin, and the leadership within the department.
What innovations have been made to the design this year?
Our key innovations this year include:
- Safe, reproducible 21V Aluminum Air battery with enhanced corrosion control
- Methylene blue chemical timer with a developed sensor algorithm to improve precision
- A portable magnetic stirrer installed on the car
- Improved quality of construction and electronic connections
On behalf of the entire department, best of luck to UTCV this Saturday and thank you so much for being exceptional ChemE ambassadors!