Helping drive the future of sustainable mobility at Shell Eco-marathon® Asia
MIRI: The Curtin Eco Racing Team (CERT) of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) put up a strong showing despite formidable odds at the recent Shell Eco-marathon® Asia held from 6 to 9 February 2014 at Luneta Park in Manila, Philippines. In their last attempt, the team’s Green Leaf v2 car managed to complete nine and a half out of ten laps and was unofficially ranked eighth out of 19teams in the Urban Concept Gasoline category.
“Comparatively speaking, the other teams’ average budget for their vehicles was more than RM100,000 while ours was less than a quarter of that. So, considering our small budget, our achievement was quite significant,” said Dr Sharul Sham Dol, team supervisor and Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Curtin Sarawak’s School of Engineering and Science.
The CERT comprised fourth-year mechanical engineering students Muhammad Yusof Azhar, 24 and Muhammad Ridhwan Jailani, 26; third-year mechanical engineering students Mohammad Mahadhir Jailani, 22, Afif Mohammad Hanapiah, 23 and Mohammad Nabihan Adli Zailani, 23; fourth-year electronic and communication engineering student Yazid Abdul Razak, 23; and third-year electronic and communication engineering student Mohammad Naqiuddin Ammar Othman.
According to Dr. Sharul, the annual competition gets more challenging with a considerable number of new teams joining each year.
“This year’s event was very competitive. Only 83 teams passed the technical inspection and we were among the first to qualify for the final round. The rectangular street circuit at Luneta Park was a big challenge resulting in many cars rolling over the sharp and narrow bends. Thankfully, our students are experienced drivers and our car handled well,” said Dr Sharul.
Team leader Muhammad Yusof said he and his teammates chose to join the competition to help highlight future energy challenges and promote sustainable mobility.
“Our car attracted the most attention amongst the public, media, fellow competitors, celebrities and the off-track awards jury. They were impressed with the car’s aerodynamics, aesthetics, advanced tribology system and engineering innovation. I think we had the most realistic-looking urban concept car in the competition,” commented Muhammad Yusof.
The Shell Eco-marathon® began its first Asian leg in 2010 at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur. This year’s event in Manila was designed to test the boundaries of fuel efficiency in an urban setting by using public roads. Competitors were faced with real-world city road surface challenges and tighter corners.
Gracing the event were Manila City Mayor and former Philippine President Joseph Estrada and Philippine Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez.
“What the students have built and are driving at Shell Eco-marathon Asia are the most powerful automobiles in the world. There is truly no machine more powerful than one that will bring us into the future,” said Jimenez.
The Indonesian contingent registered the highest number of participants at 18, followed by Malaysia and the Philippines. A total of 126 student teams from institutions of higher learning across 15 Asian countries took part in the event.
Participating teams had different choices of fuel, including petrol, diesel, FAME (bio-diesel), ethanol, hydrogen, and battery electric.
Teams from Indonesia and Thailand emerged the biggest winners, garnering four and three champions titles respectively. Team How Much Ethanol from Panjvidhya Technological College in Thailand took the top prize, achieving a distance of 2,730km on a litre of ethanol – the highest mileage recorded at this year’s competition and the equivalent distance from Manila to Jakarta.
Shell first began hosting student Eco-marathon competitions in France in 1985. Shell Eco-marathon® Europe has been held on the city streets of Rotterdam in recent years, while Shell Eco-marathon® Americas has been taking place in the urban centre of Houston, Texas.
For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my, its Facebook page at facebook.com/CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia, Twitter profile at twitter.com/curtinsarawak, YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/CurtinUniSarawak, or Instagram at instagram.com/curtinsarawak.