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Shell ecomarathon Asia

By Allenor Enciso and Warlou Joyce Antonio

Hundreds of great and young engineering minds across Asia set forth towards the race for ingenuity. The Shell Eco-marathon Asia (SEMA) once again pooled together aspiring leaders of innovation to take on the challenge of smarter mobility.

In its 30th year globally and 6th Asian-leg edition, Manila successfully welcomed, for the second time around, more than 120 student teams from 17 countries all over Asia. Prototype and urban concept student-built cars were showcased and designed to run the farthest distance with the least amount of fuel used. 

Being the host country for this grand festivity, the Philippines had 29 student teams coming from 21 universities nationwide.

“I’m proud to see more teams and nations joining the Shell Eco-marathon family this year. It’s very impressive that new starters from countries like Australia, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Bangladesh have made successful runs and recorded results in their first year, and I look forward to welcoming more newcomers in the next edition,” said Shell Eco-marathon Technical Director Norman Koch. 

While SEMA ultimately tests the fuel efficiency of the innovative vehicles, the underlying message of the event is enjoining the youth to collaborate towards a single goal – shaping the future of energy and mobility.

Reaching new heights and proportions

Student-teams set out to top their previous year’s record mileages, and new entrants attempt to make great strides in this year’s SEMA.

This time around, apart from attempts to conquer the competition, feats were recorded as entrants from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam have stamped new records in the street circuit challenge.

Participants witnessed as three teams broke records under the Protoype category. Japan’s Clean Diesel Team from Hyogo Prefectural Tajima Technical Institute drove 1,165 km/l equivalent on their first run, outdoing last year’s 717.6 km/l for the Diesel category. Thailand’s Team NSTRU Eco-Racing from Si Thammarat Rajabhat University also set the bar higher as they achieved 451 km/kWh for the Battery Electric Category. Lastly, Malaysia’s Team UiTM Eco-Sprint from Universiti Teknologi Mara Shah Alam surpassed last year’s record by driving an equivalent of 315 km/m3 for the Hydrogren Fuel Cell category.

Under the UrbanConcept category, Indonesia’s ITS Tea, 2 from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember doubled last year’s results as they registered 153 km/l for the Diesel category. Vietnam’s Team LH-Gold Energy from Lac Hong University, on the other hand, achieved 164 km/l on ethanol.

Philippines was also a force to be reckoned with as two local teams clinched a fair share of top awards under both categories.

Team UP from University of the Philippines-Diliman got the highest mileage in the Battery Electric (UrbanConcept). Team adviser for electronics Guadan Albert Chekov Castillo of Team UP took great pride in this accomplishment. “Our specialty really is battery electronics, and UP has the only laboratory in the Philippines that taught us how to produce industry grade motor controller,” said Castillo.

Another team which achieved the highest mileage for the Gasoline (Prototype) category was the De La Salle University (DLSU) Eco Car Team.

Apart from these impressive records, the Shell Helix Tribology Award was given to Team TIP Mileage Proto from Technological Institute of the Philippines for their clever use of lubrication engineering principles.

Beyond recognition and prestige

Sharing mutual passion in shaping the fuel efficiency landscape, the teams believed that SEMA was more of a learning experience than a competition. Everyone’s a winner, regardless if they received an award or not, since what they consider more important was working together to address the global energy challenge.

“It’s not just all about competition, but about shared knowledge as well,” said driver and leader of Team Alfaisal from Alfaisal University, Saudi Arabia Abdulmoshin Albabtain. “Several teams came to help us as we experienced challenges along the way. It was all for one and one for all.”

Aside from being a platform for healthy competition, it was a venue youth empowerment which opened opportunities for discussion on energy security and sustainable mobility.

“The biggest contribution of Shell Eco-marathon is the production of 10,000 skilled and motivated students each year who take with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can use in the workplace. And it is not only limited to technical knowledge,” said Koch.

Experiencing Innovation

With this year’s huge turnout of over 47,000 attendees, SEMA served as a huge stage to celebrate bright young minds and engage the public about fuel efficiency and smarter mobility.

“Shell Eco-marathon is a crucible of innovation. A place where good ideas on energy efficiency and smart design can get their first real-world trials. Maybe one of these students will go on to design the car of the future,” said Shell’s Chief Human Resources and Corporate Officer Hugh Mitchell.

Apart from the street circuit challenge, SEMA showcased a “fan zone”, an interactive attraction where participants were taught the significance of taking responsibility in safeguarding the world’s resources and adopting fuel efficient habits.

Jeruz Gabriel Madlangbayan, a DLSU Dasmariñas student, expressed his excitement in being able to visit SEMA. “I’m happy to be able to go to this event. This is my first time here and there are a lot of innovations to see. It is very inspiring to be in this place as an engineering student,” he said.

SEMA serves as an educational platform which can help local and international visitors alike to realize that shaping a sustainable energy future starts with initiative and collective effort.

In the words of Shell companies in the Philippines Country Chairman Edgar Chua, “Shell Eco-marathon is about inspiring the youth to come up with solutions for the future. This innovation will help us look at smarter mobility, and explore new type of fuel which can be more sustainable.”

About Shell Eco-marathon

Shell Eco-marathon began in 1939 at a Shell research laboratory in the United States as a friendly wager between scientists to see who could get the most miles per gallon from their vehicle. The winner of that contest barely achieved 50 mpg (21 km/l), and from these humble origins, a more organized competition evolved.

In 1985 in France, Shell Eco-marathon as we know it today was born. In April 2007, Shell Eco-marathon Americas event was launched in the United States, and in 2010, the inaugural Shell Eco-marathon Asia was held in Malaysia. Malaysia hosted Shell Eco-Marathon Asia until 2013.

Since 2014, this street circuit challenge is being held in Manila, Philippines, which will continue to host the event until 2016.

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