Henry Ford didn't invent automobile, but he made it affordable and brought cars to the masses. That's the innovation that inspires Team Turner Automotive from Portland State University. The team has developed a kit that can turn any gas powered car into a hydrogen-powered vehicle.
Learn more about Blake Turner and Sean Krivonogoff of Turner Automotive in the interview below and learn about how the idea came about, how the team came together, and what they want to do to your 1996 Honda Accord.
What is your invention?
Turner Automotive has developed a kit that allows a gasoline-powered engine to burn hydrogen, resulting in a zero-carbon vehicle. Our Hydrogen Conversion Kit doesn't modify any existing components and allows users to switch between gasoline and hydrogen for convenience (when you need to go somewhere without access to hydrogen).
Where did you get the inspiration for your invention idea?
The idea was formed as an earth day chemistry project in 2018. The idea to burn hydrogen as a fuel came to Blake when he was thinking about what he was going to do for this project, and the teacher gave a common demo of burning a hydrogen balloon. Blake realized that combustion engines are powered by burning fuels, and wondered if Hydrogen would work. After researching the topic, he realized that it wasn't just possible, it was practical.
As you prepare to pitch your invention to judges, what are you most excited about sharing?
We are excited to demonstrate our prototype. We have successfully converted a car to run on hydrogen, which we have displayed previously at the PSU CleanTech. Challenge competition. As we refine our design and make the conversion more practical, the vision of affordable clean transportation is nearly in sight.
Who are your invention heroes?
We are inspired by the early 1900's industrialists like Henry Ford. People who brought technology to the masses. While Ford didn't invent the automobile, he made it affordable. That is the idea that drives our project, bringing clean energy to everyone by making it accessible to everyone.
Tell us about your team. How did you connect with one another and how do you work together?
Sean and Blake met through a mutual friend. This mutual friend described Blake as an innovative enthusiast for providing clean energy to the masses. Blake was recommended to Sean while he was on shift at Portland State's Electronic Prototyping Lab. Sean was already interested in entering prototyping/business competitions and was intrigued to reach out to Blake. Blake was seeking a business student to help with development, outreach, and networking for his established prototype. Blake says, "When we first met each other in person, Sean's enthusiasm stood out as a perfect business partner."
We have since partnered up to grow Turner Automotive!
What is the most important thing you want the judges to understand about your invention — what will set you apart from the competition?
Our conversion kit can be installed on any internal-combustion vehicle. Your 1996 Honda Accord can become a zero-emission vehicle with our kit.