Shell Eco-marathon a festival of engineering

Electrical Engineering students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have designed ultra-fuel-efficient vehicles to be put to the test on the track at the 2017 Shell Eco-marathon South Africa. The event was held on 20 and 21 October 2017, at Zwartkops Raceway, Johannesburg. The Shell Eco-marathon is a global competition that challenges high school and university students to design, build, test and drive the most energy-efficient vehicle.

This year, 17 participating teams from different high schools and universities in South Africa and the African continent registered for the competition. The teams are classified under two vehicle categories, that is, prototype and urban concept and can enter under any of the following propulsion systems: Shell fuel save Unleaded 93 gasoline: Shell fuel save diesel: Battery Electric or Hydrogen.

The Shell Eco-Marathon seeks to attract and expose students and communities to future energies through the 2017 theme: Innovation and technology.

“Initiatives such as these demonstrate commitment to harbouring young and dynamic talent displayed by learners and students who are dedicated to tackling the energy challenge. The event also serves as an ideal ground to attract and capture young people’s interest in the fields of Science, Technology and engineering,” mentioned Professor Johan Meyer Head of the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg.

The winning team will have designed a car that drives the equivalent of the longest distance using the least amount of energy/fuel in their chosen category. The goal is not to break speed records but to use as little energy/fuel as possible over a distance.

Teams had to pass stringent and thorough safety checks performed by Shell technical personnel to race.
The Shell Eco-marathon is a visible demonstration of Shell’s commitment to finding, integrated responsible solutions to the growing energy demand worldwide. It aims to stimulate all our stakeholders and public to engage in energy dialogues.
This year’s event displayed a host of Engineering and Energy initiatives ranging from:

Afrikabot – a robotics competition that provides young students the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in the world of robot science.

  • CO2 Dragster Challenge – which challenges learners by designing and building a race car from a block of wood, propelled by a CO2 canister.
  • Clean Energy Education Challenge – School teams will be required to, with the use of a hydrogen fuel cell, power a Lego built car over a distance of 10m.
  • Salt-water cars – Members of the public can come build and race their own saltwater car on a custom build racetrack.
  • Lego – There will be tons of interactive educational Lego for all ages to enjoy.
  • Soccket ball – The Soccket ball captures the kinetic energy generated during play, and stores this energy inside the ‘soccket’ for later use as an off-grid power source.30 minutes of play can power a simple LED lamp for 3 hours.
  • BMW – The BMW i8 is a hybrid plug in sports car, which will be on display with the BMW i3 at the Shell Eco-marathon exhibition area.
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