More than 500 students from different high school and universities across the US as well as from Brazil, Mexico, Canada and even from India showed their creativity, skills, camaraderie and teamwork in developing the best energy and fuel-efficient vehicle, with some of them even made from eco-friendly materials.
Even the event itself is greener this year, according to Shell organizers. Shell said they supplied organic shirts and caps made from recycled cotton for all participants; bio-degradable toiletries such as lip balm and sunscreen to the teams; water bottles, tote bags, pens and flash drives made from recycled material; and minimizing the use of printed materials by distributing information electronically.
This year's event was composed of 44 teams, who are all trying to break the 2008 fuel efficiency record of 2,843 miles per gallon (mpg) bagged by Mater Dei High School of Evansville, Indiana. Last year's Shell Eco-marathon Europe recorded a 7,957 mpg from Lycee La Joliverie of France.
Shell will launch for the first time the Eco-marathon Asia in Malaysia next year.
One important thing to note is that the high schools teams competing against college teams are definitely impressive. Also took note of the fact that many women are participating in this kind of event. It makes me feel proud to be a chemical engineer.
Here's a recap of the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas winners. With these types of ingenuity and skills, I don't think anybody could be losers. Congratulations all!
Prototype (streamlined vehicles that focus on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements)
With mileage of 2,757.1 mpg, the Laval University in Quebec, Canada won a US$5,000 grand prize with their vehicle, NTF 3.0.
Penn State University achieved 1,912.9 mpg in its Blood, Sweat & Gears vehicle.
Purdue University took first place with its solar vehicle, Pulsar, which achieved 4,913 mpg.
UrbanConcept (roadworthy fuel efficient vehicles)
With mileage of 433.3 mpg, Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Ind. won a US$5,000 grand prize with their vehicle, Street Buggy.
Special Awards for the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas
The UCLA team for their Prototype design. Their special design not only contributed to the fuel efficiency of their vehicle, but incorporated recycled and eco-friendly materials into the vehicle and production process.
UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Grand Rapids Technical School and Loyola Marymount University. The "Safety Award" recognized three teams who made the most extensive efforts to comply with the safety regulations of the Shell Eco-marathon Americas.
Technical Innovation Award
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (1st prize), Purdue University (2nd) and California Polytechnic State University (3rd). This award demonstrated outstanding initiative and technical ingenuity along with optimal use of new materials in the drive train, chassis, instrumentation and tires.
Brazilian team from Minas Gerais State University. This award recognized their innovative design research related to ergonomics, aesthetics, choice of materials and technical feasibility.
Dalhousie University team from Canada, who made outstanding communications efforts concerning the Shell Eco-marathon.
Best Team Spirit Award
George M. Schurr High School team. Not only did they demonstrate initiative to learn more about other teams and contribute to the morale at the competition, they lent a tire to another team and helped a team in need whose car wasn't ready to compete by loaning them one of their vehicles to participate in the challenge.
Perseverance in the Face of Adversity Award
Chitkara Institute of Engineering & Technology in India and Louisiana State University. Both teams overcame many obstacles in order to make it to the Shell Eco-marathon Americas - the team from India not only traveled a very far distance to participate in the event, they also battled many issues with their vehicle, and the team from LSU overcame the loss of a team member, who passed away last year. The team dedicated their Shell Eco-marathon project to this team member, even naming their vehicle after her, Ellen.