FAST team member Max Aerts excitedly talks bout the day. “We've applied for the grant just like 134 other applicants. We were super happy to be among the fifteen finalists who were invited to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges, since the grant is really meant for researchers that are on the university payroll. We are the only student team. We came here to network. We never thought we'd actually win.”
“The morning started with a thirty-second pitch, after which we were subjected to several questions from the jury”, he continues. They did that before: in June, Team FAST won the Brains Award in the sustainability category after a similar inquisition. “Today, the judges wanted to know why the industry should switch to formic acid, considering research and development into hydrogen has barely started. We believe formic acid is a better alternative because the infrastructure for the liquid is already here, and because it's just more practical than gas.”Formic acid can be made from hydrogen and carbon dioxide. One of its major benefits is it doesn't explode, and it's easy to transport."
Team FAST will be using the 50,000 euros to build a passenger car that should be completed before the end of the academic year.
Open Mind is a grant program STW set up as an acessible grant for daring research. The grant challenges scientists (not students, necessarily) to think out of the box and propose original research plans that have an impact on society.