New Providence High School Hosts Annual Hydrogen Powered Model Car Competition

Jake Block and his team from East Hanover High School Credits: Jason Cohen
Students racing their cars Credits: Jason Cohen
Students racing their cars Credits: Jason Cohen
Mike Finocchino and his team from High Point High School Credits: Jason Cohen

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - While gas prices continue to hover around $4.00 per gallon and many scientists contend that the burning of fossil fuels is contributing to global warming, the desire to find alternative fuels is growing.  On Wednesday morning, Dec. 12, the seventh annual Hydrogen Powered Model Car Competition was hosted by TransOptions, the Transportation Management Association for northwestern New Jersey at New Providence High School.

The purpose of the event is to promote technology in education and foster student interest in “STEM” activities (science, technology, engineering and math).  Each team is required to design, build and race cars that are running on hydrogen fuel cells and they are provided with the kits, which include wheels, axles, motors and gears.

The students must figure out how to produce hydrogen so the car will move. Many of cars use distilled water, which separates the oxygen from the hydrogen. The high schools that participated included New Providence, Delbarton, High Point, Livingston, Kittatinny, Madison, East Hanover, Piscataway and Newton. There is a double elimination race and the goal is to see whose car can go the farthest on the 20 meter track.

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Joseph Caravella, the environmental programs manager at TransOptions, said it’s a fun, educational day for the kids.

“I think that certainly the major reason for us having the event is to get introduced to alternative energy sources like hydrogen,” Caravella said.

Junior Jake Block from Florham Park said he and his friends started the Robotics Club at school three years ago. They won the competition last year and he said the trick to succeeding is using light materials so the car will go fast.

“The beauty about this is, as long as you know the basics you can pretty much make anything move,” Block said.

Mike Finocchino, a senior at High Point participated last year, but said things didn’t get off to a good start this time when their car went backwards.  They were hoping to fix it and jump back in the race, he said.

“In the classroom it worked, but like Murphy’s Law everything that can go wrong will go wrong,” he said.

 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

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