Technical University of Crete participated in Shell Eco Marathon 2015

Three Greek teams participated in this year’s Shell Eco Marathon, held in Rotterdam.

Amongst them, it was the TUCer team from the Technical University of Crete, participating with the Eco Racer (ΕR2015) in Urban Concept (Hydrogen) category (4th place, 58 km/kwh).

Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles. With annual events first in the Americas, then Europe and Asia, the winners are the teams that go the furthest using the least amount of energy. The events spark debate about the future of mobility and inspire young engineers to push the boundaries of fuel efficiency.

French and Danish teams stole the show on the final day of the 30th anniversary Shell Eco-marathon Europe in Rotterdam, Netherlands. They set three track records and beat two of the best results the competition has ever seen.

Team Microjoule-La Joliverie from France has triumphed once again at Shell Eco-marathon Europe. The school team achieved the most fuel-efficient performance across all energy types with 2,551.8 km/litre equivalent – the same as driving from Rotterdam to Moscow – in the new Prototype CNG category.

Team Microjoule left the Prototype gasoline category behind this year to compete with more challenging compressed natural gas. “We’re happy with our result,” said team member Richard Sampson. “We had a challenge to keep the gas pressure stable. If we fix that, we hope to achieve 3,000 km/l next year.”

Food for thought: the winning vehicle at the first European event in 1985 would have been efficient enough to travel the 320km from Rotterdam to London on just one litre of fuel.

Breaking through

Three teams set new track records this year. In the process, they improved on two of the best results seen in the competition’s 30-year history.

French team Lycee Louis Delage drove 517.3km/l equivalent with their UrbanConcept gasoline car, topping the all-time best result of 468.8 km/l which they achieved in 2014. Team IUT GMP Valenciennes, also from France, set a track record of 1,323km/l in the Prototype diesel category, inching ahead of their earlier performance.

One of the most astonishing achievements was the comeback made by Danish team DTU Roadrunners, who awoke on Wednesday to find their UrbanConcept ethanol car had caught fire. Within two days, the team put in a combined 200 hours of work to fix its electrics. Against the odds, they achieved 665km/l, smashing the previous all-time best result which they achieved in 2013.

“We wanted to do 650km/l this year, but that was before the fire,” said team leader Thor Therkelson Christensen. “What happened was beyond all of our expectations.” The team took the microphone at the awards ceremony to thank everybody for their help.

Raising their game

Team Microjoule left huge shoes to fill in the Prototype gasoline category this year. French team TED surprised themselves with a 2,308.3km/l win, up more than 700km/l from 2014. “It’s incredible how much you can optimise the engine just by changing the electronics,” said student advisor Marc Denante. (The all-time best remains 3,771km/l for now.)

Spanish team Equip UMH were delighted to win the Prototype ethanol category with 1,496.4km/l, while TUfast Eco Team from Germany doubled their winnings, taking the Prototype battery electric category with 863km/kWh and the off-track award for vehicle design. Eco-runner Team Delft came within touching distance of a new Prototype hydrogen track record with 1,227.6 km/m3.

Off-track awards

Shell Eco-marathon is about much more than winning on the track. Teams can apply for awards in communications, technical innovation, design and safety. One extra award is presented to a team showing the greatest spirit and perseverance in the face of adversity.

AE2 Project Team from Turkey won the Safety Award, having showed the best understanding of safe design concepts and working practices as well as a proactive approach to their own and other people’s safety. “We have a safety-driven way of working which is just as important as getting good numbers on the track,” said team member Borhan Işık.

Toulouse Ingenierie Multidisciplinaire (TIM) were chosen for the Perseverance and Spirit of the Event Award for helping other teams – including their main competitor DTU Roadrunners from Denmark – but also their own hard work to resolve challenging problems with their vehicle. In the end they failed to achieve a valid run.

“They know they can count on us for anything, and we know we can count on them,” said team member Nicholas Gaiqui.

Goodbye Rotterdam, Hello London

After four years, this is the last Shell Eco-marathon Europe to be hosted in Rotterdam. Around 50,000 visitors came during the four days of competition to experience the event and visit the Shell Energy Lab which provided new insights into energy science for families and children.

Rijke Boer visited on the last day with his grandchildren, who enjoyed racing miniature cars powered by motors running on salty water. “I liked the event because you can be both a spectator and participant,” he said.

“This was a remarkable year. Three new track records have been set and we saw particular improvement in the UrbanConcept category,” said Norman Koch, Shell Eco-marathon’s Global Technical Director. “We celebrated 30 years of Shell Eco-marathon and now, as we say thank you and goodbye to the city of Rotterdam, we proudly pass the baton to London as the next host city in 2016.”

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