Sounds of thundering engines roared around the perimeter of the normally tranquil Discovery Greens in Downtown Houston, Texas. From afar, the scene resembled a Formula 1 race: cars boasted corporate sponsor decals and swung through the turns passing on the inside as they jetted off towards victory. Well, it really wasn’t quite like a Formula 1 race, but for the chemical engineers on the scene, the Shell Eco-marathon was far more exciting.
[caption id="attachment_44366" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The Mater Dei Car (photo by May Shek)"][/caption]
More than 1,000 students with 113 vehicles from high schools and colleges across the United States met in Houston to compete in the 2012 Eco-Marathon Americas competition, now in its sixth year. Students were challenged to drive farther than their peers on one gallon of fuel using any of the following technologies: diesel, gasoline, ethanol, FAME, solar, hydrogen and electric battery technologies.
[caption id="attachment_44367" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Finish Line (photo by Douglas Clark)"][/caption]
The Shell Eco-Marathon aims to promote the spirit of competition as well as engineering problem-solving. Over the weekend, the students came face to face with their competition to duke it out on the race track and decide which schools were able to design the most fuel efficient vehicles. The pictures illustrate just how creative some of the designs were.
[caption id="attachment_44368" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A Solar Powered Car (photo by Elizabeth Horahan)"][/caption]
Here are just a few of the winners' achievements by:
2188.6 miles per gallon gasoline (Mater Dei High School – Evansville, Indiana)
A run (10 laps) of 611 miles per gallon gasoline (Mater Dei High School – Evansville, Indiana)
488.7 miles per gallon diesel (Louisiana Tech University – Ruston, Louisiana)
For more information on the results, see the Sunday Wrap Up Page.
This year, the Eco-Marathon also happened to coincide with the AIChE Spring Meeting and 8th Globlal Congress on Process Safety. The concept vehicles were special treats for those attending the conferences.
CIALIA FOR SALE March 28-29, 2014 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
The AIChE Foundation raises funds to support projects and activities that further the Institute's mission and enable the profession of chemical engineering to have a greater impact on the world. Donations small and large make a difference.
Thanks to innovative business models, the off-grid solar market from sub-Saharan Africa to India has not only been growing, it's picking up serious momentum. But many of the first organizations to bring solar to the poor were nonprofits, which have had a hard time raising enough capital to satisfy the huge demand. That's why the California-based d.light, a for-profit social enterprise, is so important.
The off-grid solar lighting specialist has lined up a stellar group of investors for an $11 million investment round, which brings d.light's total to $40 million. This milestone sends a message about the ability of companies in this part of the world to successfully sell products that improve the lives of the poor. (The video is a case history.)
After serious due diligence, investors saw that d.light already made more than 500,000 solar lights a month, thanks to its first big customer: the French oil and gas company Total, which sells d.light's product line throughout Africa as part of its “Access to Energy Program.”
With growth rates similar to the early days of mobile phone expansion, d.light serves over 40 countries through over 10,000 retail outlets, and has sold 6 million solar power products. So as more companies raise the money they need, the world will begin to move meaningfully toward ending energy poverty.
Check out the video in the panel at right.
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