TransOptions Newsletter

TransOptions Makes Science Come Alive

Students Harness Hydrogen to Power Model Racing Cars

"I produced hydrogen that powered my racing car.  Now I understand how that works.  Plus, it was fun!," commented a high school student at TransOptions' Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge (H2). Science came to life for about 100 high school students who took part in the Challenge on December 12, 2012 at New Providence High School, New Providence, New Jersey.

The 7th annual Challenge was hosted by TransOptions, the Transportation Management Association for northwestern New Jersey, to promote technology in education and foster student interest in "STEM" activities (science, technology, engineering and math). The Challenge was originally developed by the U.S. Department of Energy for their annual National Science Bowl competition.

"The Challenge helped future motorists learn first-hand about a sustainable fuel that can improve air quality by reducing pollution," commented John F. Ciaffone, TransOptions’ President. "Sponsoring the Challenge is part of our ongoing commitment to support environmental education. Historically, it’s been formative for high school students considering careers in engineering and science," he added. 

As race day began, each team stopped at the Judges Table where a panel examined their model car to ensure that it conformed to Challenge regulations. Each team also presented their documentation portfolio that is required to illustrate the concepts, designs and development of their model car. 

Just prior to each race, pairs of teams huddled at the starting line to produce hydrogen through a process known as electrolysis which powered the fuel cell stack.   Cars proceeded to compete against each other, racing two by two down a 66 foot long track. Multiple rounds of elimination races were held until the two fastest cars, "Lancer I" and "Linda II" raced against each other to determine the speed competition winner. "Lancer I" emerged victorious.

Awards were presented to the winners at the conclusion of the races in the categories of speed, documentation, craftsmanship and engineering.

The winners were:


1st Place – “Lancer I” – Livingston High School – Jamie Levinson, Kenneth Duffy and Jeffrey Yu

2nd Place – “Linda II” – New Providence High School – Yuji Sugimoto, Davis Barry and Kevin Haggerty

3rd Place –  “Von Hindenburg’s Fantastical Chariot of Doom” – Madison High School – Christian Santoro, Kyle Smith and Ryan Mak


1st Place – “Grizzly” – High Point Regional High School – Krishna Desai and Ryan Henderson

2nd Place – “Mechanical Wave” – Delbarton – Jeremy Palmer, Nick Palmer, Chris Deluca and Wagas Azher

3rd Place – “Hydrolysis” – New Providence High School – Aditya Vinjamari, Henry Lee and Billy Gilroy


1st Place – “Super Charger” – Piscataway High School - James Vertes, Elijah Whitaker and Savan Patel

2nd Place – “Pretty Wizard” – Newton High School – Craig Garret, Kyle Reimer and Tyler Morris

3rd Place – “Pernicious” – Newton High School – Max Bareiss, Shane Best and Layne Darabaris


1st Place – “Pernicious” – Newton High School - Max Bareiss, Shane Best and Layne Darabaris

2nd Place – “Eco Boost” – High Point Regional High School – Mike Finocchiaro, Dylan Cassidy, Alex Delvalle and Justin Malone

3rd Place – “Super Charger” – Piscataway High School – James Vertes, Elijah Whitaker and Savan Patel

Learn more about TransOptions Environmental Education programs and how to participate in next year’s Challenge at or contact us at (973) 267-7600 or


Race day photos are available up request.