Green Minded Students compete.
High school and university students from across the Americas race to perfect super-mileage vehicles in time for fuel efficiency competition in Houston.
As Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2014 fast approaches, more than 1,000 innovative high school and university students from across the Americas are entrenched in efficiency tests, safety checks and practice runs to ensure their super-mileage vehicles are ready for the competition taking place in Houston April 25-27.
The students face the daunting challenge of surpassing last year’s achievement by Quebec’s Université Laval of 3,587 miles per gallon, and they are determined to rise to the challenge.
Teams hailing from Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala and all across the United States will come together again this year to put their super-mileage vehicles to the test and see whose vehicle can go farthest on the least amount of energy. Though the competition is fierce and the task is demanding, these student teams interact with a remarkable collaborative attitude, working together to solve problems on and off the track. The good spirit of the teams elevates the purpose of the competition to be about coming together and inspiring each other to seek new and feasible solutions to tomorrow’s energy challenges.
“The technologies these students are developing, testing and honing could play a key role in future vehicle design,” said Wolfgang Warnecke, Shell Chief Scientist Mobility.
Shell Eco-marathon shows how working with others – in this case students and a broad range of partners – helps to spark debate and drive innovation forward.
Getting Creative with Fuel Efficiency
Funding, design, safety and time are all concerns the students have to keep in mind as they build their vehicles, and some students are seeking new and creative ways to address future energy challenges by thinking outside the box to achieve success.
The students from St. Paul’s School in Covington, La., are proudly growing their own bacterial mat that will be woven into leather for the seats of their vehicle. The team is one of four planning to attend the event this year from St. Paul’s School, and the various team members often work together to troubleshoot if one team runs into a challenge.
Other teams are also relying on nearby schools when they run into a roadblock. The team from Louisiana Tech University often invites the nearby Ruston High School team to campus to use the more advanced facilities and troubleshoot problems they are facing. Several Ruston team members plan to follow in their mentors’ footsteps next year and become mechanical engineering majors at Louisiana Tech.
“Fueling” the Passion for Shell Eco-marathon Americas
James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro, N.C., has established a class and curriculum around the challenge, and the team from Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Penn., has grown the team from last year’s two-man roster to seven team members. They are also working to establish a designated club for students who want to compete.
This is the first time Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Citrus College in Glendora, Calif., and John Glenn High School in Norwalk, Calif., will participate in the event. Though many legacy teams opt to build their vehicle from scratch each year, schools new to the competition face the added challenge of building a vehicle from scratch without any institutional knowledge or tools from past years.
Outside of the U.S., teams will be traveling to Houston this year from Canada, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil. Last year’s record-holding team, Université Laval, will be traveling from Québec, Canada to defend their title. “With the competition rapidly approaching, we are becoming more and more excited,” said Audrey Lainé, captain of the Université Laval team. “Our team has worked tirelessly to make improvements to our vehicle as well as improve its reliability. We paid attention to every detail. We are hoping to not only beat our record but to set a new one this year in Houston!”
Helping Students Prepare for the “Real World”
Shell Eco-marathon Americas helps students prepare for life in the “real world,” with many going on to pursue careers in the energy and technology industries. Several students from Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah, credit their participation in the challenge with inspiring them to pursue careers in the automotive industry. “I always thought cars would just be a hobby,” says team lead Alan Reintjes, “but being involved in this project has made it clear to me that I want to do it for a living.” Reintjes and one other team member are going to work at Ford Motor Company when they graduate.
Before facing the future, however, these student teams must prepare to take on the challenge of breaking new boundaries in energy efficiency at the 8th annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2014.
About Shell Eco-marathon Americas
Held globally in the Americas, Europe and Asia, Shell Eco-marathon provides a real-world environment for students to test vehicles they design and build themselves with the goal of going the farthest possible distance using the least amount of energy.
Over its 30 editions, Shell Eco-marathon has seen radical changes in car design, from the introduction of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber, to the use of computer software to model and analyze the vehicles. These developments have resulted in major fuel efficiency improvements over the years, and the student teams are constantly thinking of new ways to excel.
This year marks the 8th edition of Shell Eco-marathon Americas and 5th year in Houston. New global partnerships with HP, Michelin, The Linde Group and Southwest Research Institute will support the Shell Eco-marathon Americas, assisting competing teams of student engineers through offering expertise, products and collaborative opportunities. The new partners will contribute and add considerable value to the event, particularly with regard to innovation, technology, sustainability, mobility and tackling future energy challenges.
For more information on all 2014 events across the globe, including the complete Americas 2014 roster, schedule and official rules, please visit the Shell Eco-marathon website at www.shell.com/ecomarathon.
About Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies in more than 70 countries. We deliver a diverse range of energy solutions and petrochemicals to customers worldwide. These include transporting and trading oil and gas, marketing natural gas, producing and selling fuel for ships and planes, generating electricity and providing energy efficiency advice.
We also produce and sell petrochemical building blocks to industrial customers globally, and we are investing in making renewable and lower-carbon energy sources competitive for large-scale use. In the U.S., we operate in 50 and employ more than 20,000 people delivering energy in a responsible manner.
About Shell Eco-marathon
Shell Eco-marathon is a global program that challenges high school and college student teams to design, build and test the most energy-efficient vehicles. With annual events in the Americas, Europe and Asia, this innovation competition pushes future scientists and engineers to travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2014 will take place April 25 – April 27, 2014 on the streets of downtown Houston, the energy capital of the world. Visit www.shell.com/ecomarathon/americas to learn more about this program.