London to Mumbai on a litre of fuel as new efficiency record set

by Search Gate staff. Published Sun 09 May 2010 12:50
On the starting line for Shell eco marathon

Shell's 2010 Eco-marathon Europe has proved another record-breaking year, with the long-standing overall record set finally being beaten by an amazing 1,060 kilometres.

The Polytech’ Nantes emerged as champions of this year’s Shell Eco-marathon Europe by smashing the record for maximum distance travelled on the equivalent of a litre of fuel, set back in 2005 by ETH Zurich of Switzerland.

That team’s impressive record of 3,836km/l was robust enough to stand the test of the past five years, but could not resist the outstanding performance of the French team, which notched up an amazing 4,414km/l on the very first day of the event.

Not content with their own remarkable performance, the team went on to summarily beat their freshly-minted record on the last day of the event, adding a further 482 kilometres to their tally for a new all-time record of 4,896.1km, rounding off the 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Europe in decisive style.

This distance covered is roughly the equivalent of driving from the head to toe of Europe, from the North Cape in Norway down to the toe of the Italian peninsula.

Teams from Nantes are making a habit of outperforming themselves at the Shell Eco-marathon Europe, and this is the second year in a row that a team has set an outstanding record and gone on to comprehensively beat it during the course of the same edition of the event.

Last year Nantes team La Joliverie broke the internal combustion Prototype record to then go on to break that record later the same day. Polytech’ Nantes have this year demonstrated comprehensively not only that the 4,000–kilometre barrier could be broken, but have put the 5,000–kilometre target well within sight.

Commenting on the outstanding achievements of the 2010 edition, Niel Golightly, Vice President Downstream Communications, Royal Dutch Shell, said: “This year demonstrates that repeat teams are taking on the learnings from past events to research how they can apply them to their own projects. This has been key in driving the innovations that we see are delivering such outstanding results and creating records that were only just a couple of years ago beyond our wildest dreams.”

Polytech’ Nantes team leader Pauline Tranchard explained how the team managed to achieve such great results: “Five years’ research went into getting us to 4,896km on one litre of fuel.

“Our insights and the wealth of experience that our colleagues from the Lycée de La Joliverie de Nantes brought to the table were both instrumental in helping us reach what many might have considered an unattainable goal.”

Tranchard is setting the bar high for the team’s performance in future events: “We believe that there still is room for improvement: if there hadn’t been so much wind and we hadn't had a flat on our last run, I guess we would have done even better,” she concluded.

An important element in that theme of innovation was the introduction this year of an electric-mobility demonstration run, in which 12 of the competing teams participated. The aim of this demonstration was to explore the feasibility of introducing battery-powered vehicles as a separate category in future editions of the Shell Eco-marathon, the inclusion of which could generate great interest among future teams of students interested in exploring the potential of electric mobility.

The elements once again proved a challenge during this year’s edition of the event, with storms and rain halting racing on the scheduled first day. However with a keen eye on the weather forecast, the event organisers took advantage of the clement weather on Wednesday to begin racing a day early and allow the teams the opportunity to complete their first round of trials and races.

The competition is specifically designed to inspire and foster future scientific and engineering talent as well as encourage the development of innovative solutions to increase fuel efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of the cars we drive.

James Smith, Chairman, Shell UK, said: “There is a crucial need for more efficient use of energy in transport and this competition shines a spotlight on that need. Innovation is key and these students show us a glimpse of what might be possible.”

There were two race categories: the Prototypes category, where the design considerations focus around reducing drag and maximising efficiency; and the Urban Concept category, where more identifiable ‘road cars’ are designed for more everyday use.

Both categories embrace a wide variety of fuel types, from fuels such as diesel and petrol to alternative fuels like ethanol, gas-to-liquid (GTL), hydrogen, solar energy, and bio-fuels. As long as teams adhere to safety rules, vehicle design is limited only by students’ imagination.



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