HOUSTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — As most high school and college students are busy tackling tests or taking it easy during spring break, student teams from across the Americas are preparing for the ultimate extracurricular activity – designing, building, and testing a vehicle that travels the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. After months of coordinating designs and constructing vehicles, 43 student teams – from 9 high schools and 29 universities – are putting the finishing touches on their vehicles for the 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas energy challenge. These leaders of tomorrow and their fuel-efficient creations will soon take to the streets of downtown Houston, March 26-28 around Discovery Green Park. We’ll find out if these students can beat the 2,757.1 miles per gallon achieved in 2009 by Laval University, but more than that, the students will grant us a glimpse into the fuels, technologies and transportation of tomorrow.
After three years in Southern California, the 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas is heading to Houston, the home of Shell’s U.S. headquarters. This year, walkers, runners and cyclists at Discovery Green Park will be replaced by cars of the future as the student teams drive their fuel-efficient vehicles on the street track. This is the first time the Shell Eco-marathon Americas will be held on a street track, which presents new challenges in the urban street location, instead of the race track teams have competed on in the past.
“We’re excited to have the Shell Eco-marathon Americas on the streets of Houston this year. It’s especially exciting to help pioneer the new urban setting for the competition as it presents our students with a new set of challenges,” said University of Houston faculty advisor, Raresh Pascali. “And, we’re really looking forward to both University of Houston teams testing their vehicles on the street track around Discovery Green Park. It will be great to see the different designs other teams will bring to the 2010 challenge and we’re looking forward to having our friends and family come out to experience the event as well.”
The event is open to the public this year, so spectators can come out to watch and cheer on the teams. Additionally, there will be a variety of activities and displays on-hand at Discovery Green, including: an art display by The Orange Show, which will feature eco arts and crafts for kids; the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil car as well as a simulator to give visitors the virtual experience of driving a real NASCAR; a solar demonstration by the Rice University “Capteur Soleil” solar group which will feature a solar-thermal concentrator device which produces steam from sunlight; the Shell Employees Encouraging Development for Sustainability (SEEDS) Solar Car Challenge; and, the Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines dual fuel car display and booth that will feature the chance to win $50 Shell Gift Cards.
Similar to last year, student teams will participate in either the “Prototype” or “UrbanConcept” categories. For the Prototype category, teams will enter futuristic prototypes – streamlined vehicles that focus on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements, such as drag reduction. For the UrbanConcept category, teams will enter more “roadworthy” fuel-efficient vehicles. Aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers, these vehicles are closer in appearance to the higher-mileage cars seen on roads today. For both categories, teams can use any conventionally available energy source – including fuels such as diesel, gasoline and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), as well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biomass and solar.
From vehicle design to financing, student teams manage their projects from start to finish. The winning teams in both the Prototype and UrbanConcept categories receive a grand prize of $5,000 USD for their school. Shell will also have several “off-track” awards again this year, including a “People’s Choice Award,” the “Safety Award,” “Technical Innovation Award” and “Eco-friendly Award,” among others.
To help ensure the 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas is a successful event for all the student participants, Shell is pleased to welcome the 2010 event sponsors, including the City of Houston, Autodesk, Michelin, Pennzoil Ultra, and SKF USA Inc. The 2010 Americas event will also welcome others including Kateri Callahan, president of Alliance to Save Energy, and Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation, who will join Shell CEO, Peter Voser, and Shell Oil Company President, Marvin Odum, for a series of events to discuss the energy challenge and promote action to achieve a sustainable energy future.
The 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas roster includes 50 vehicles from 43 teams including 9 high schools and 29 universities from Canada, Italy and the United States (Note: some teams listed below have multiple vehicle entries in different categories). The Prototype entries include 29 vehicles powered by combustion engines, two by diesel fuel, one by ethanol, five by fuel cell/hydrogen technology, one by LPG and two by solar power. The UrbanConcept entries include six vehicles powered by combustion engines, two by diesel fuel, one by fuel cell/hydrogen technology and one by solar power.
With more than two successful decades in Europe, this mileage challenge came back to the U.S. as the Shell Eco-marathon Americas in April 2007. The Shell Eco-marathon concept started as the Shell Mileage Marathon in 1939 between employees of Shell at a research laboratory in Wood River, Illinois.
For more information on the Shell Eco-marathon Americas, please visit http://www.shell.com/ecomarathon.
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SOURCE Shell Oil Company