Saturday, April 07, 2018

Happenings: Shell Eco-Marathon 2018 - Team Eco Voyager from University Malaya Comes Third In The Hydrogen Prototype Car Category

Make the Future Singapore, which is Shell’s festival of ideas and innovation for Asia happened in the Lion City recently and the four-day saw thousands of visitors to see what the future purportedly holds. The part we are most interested in is the mobility portion of the festival especially the Shell Eco Marathon Asia (SEMA) of which seven teams from six Malaysian universities had participated. And this time, Team Eco Voyager from University Malaysia place third in the Prototype – Hydrogen category (above). Not a bad achievement for Malaysia.

Seven teams from six universities were chosen to represent Malaysia. Six of these teams managed to complete the grueling technical inspection and made it out onto the Shell Eco Marathon track to put their car designs to the efficiency test - which is what the competition is all about. A general rule is that all cars must pass all 12 stations at the technical inspection before they qualify for a session on the track. 

SEMA is one way Shell Malaysia gives back to the country. Science competitions like these encourage our youth in the areas of science, technology, engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which is the backbone for development in any country. This is what propels a nation forward. It isn't mere lifting up your hands to the sky but this is part of the effort in nation building. So here, Shell Malaysia believes that SEMA serves as one such platform for our Malaysian bright and future talents to discover ways of bringing their ideas to life by challenging their young minds to innovate. This is a chance to give our youth the global exposure needed for them to grow.

The Prototype Category winners 

The best mileage record for the Internal Combustion Engine category was 2,341.1 km/l by Panjavidhya1 (above) from Panjavidhya Technological College (Thailand). Their effort beat last year’s figure of 2,288.9km/l. Team HuaQi-EV from Guangzhou College of South China University of Technology (China),with a result of 511.0km/kWh in the Battery Electric category while Team TP ECO FLASH from Temasek Polytechnic (Singapore)with a result of 404.3km/m3 in the Hydrogen category. 

It is in the Hydrogen category that team Eco Voyager from University Malaysia (above) took third and succeeded in breaking their previous mileage record by achieving 267 KM/M3. They may not have won, but our students came back beating their own record which could be a personal achievement for the team.

The Drivers’ World Championship Asia Winners
Team SEMAR URBAN UGM INDONESIA from Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia claimed victory in the second edition of Drivers’ World Championship Asia. This is a race to cross the finish line first on the least amount of fuel used. 

The top three teams from the Asia regional final will face off against the best UrbanConcept teams from the Americas and Europe in the Grand Final to be held at Make the Future Live in London, UK, on July 8, 2018. The overall winner will earn a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the home of Scuderia Ferrari (of which Shell is one of their partners in Formula 1 and more). This is definitely one category which many would have wanted to win!

The Off-Track Awards
Aside from the final round which required the cars to be tested on the SEMA track, the students are also recognised for their communications, technical innovation, design, safety and perseverance with off-track category awards. 

GARUDA UNY ECO TEAM from Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Indonesia, was awarded the Safety Award for the design of their UrbanConceptcar. According the the judges, the team went above and beyond the usual safety simulations and used physical experiments instead to test their design and modified the vehicle design and materials based on their test results.

Nest, EnduroKiwis from University of Canterbury, New Zealand,was awarded the Technical Innovation Award for their self-designed 3D-printed titanium engine in their UrbanConceptcar. Titanium makes for a stronger engine obviously and it is definitely different from the norm (I think the issue for production would actually be cost as titanium is an expensive alloy). The team used a combination of 3D-printing with the traditional machine and they were complemented for taking a complete approach to designing and printing the complete engine in a way that is not only optimised for efficient production of the printed parts, but also for optimised engine fuel efficiency. 

This is an eye opener folks. Think about it. Students in New Zealand CAN build their own engines. I also know RMIT in Australia have engineering students who actually build engine for their practical work. This is the level of teaching in these places.

NUST Eco-motive from National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan,won the Perseverance and Spirit of the Event Award. This award is about sacrifice and the sporting spirit. When it became clear that the team would not be able to pass the required technical inspection, the team gave away their engine to a team who desperately needed one. They also gave away their tyres, battery and other vehicle parts to help about 20 other competing teams and demonstrated the true spirit of the competition. Super cool dudes from Pakistan here!

I love innovation and I also love the fact that students from Malaysia get to see how students from other countries conduct their affairs. It must have been an eye opener for them witnessing such levels of competition, skill, knowledge and the sporting spirit in them. This year may not have been a good year for the Malaysian teams compared to the previous year but in this case, it isn't just winning, but the whole lot of experience that they could never get if they just stayed in Malaysia and finished their course the normal way. This is something that money can't buy actually and I am actually glad that Shell Malaysia keeps on sponsoring our students in this manner.

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