Alternative Fuels Power Team to Victory at Chem-E-Car Competition

October 28, 2012

ALTERNATIVE FUELS POWER TEAM TO VICTORY

AT CHEM-E-CAR COMPETITION

Colleges from the U.S., Mexico and Qatar use ingenuity, everyday materials, and complex science in fun and enlightening competition; [NAME University] Takes Top Honors

PITTSBURGH – The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) today announced that Cornell University won first place in the 14thAnnual Chem-E-Car competition, an international, collegiate competition featuring 35 cars - ranging in size from shoeboxes to fire hydrants - running on creative alternative fuels.  The winning car, called Zapdos, runs on a zinc air battery.

The competition, held in conjunction with AIChE’s Annual Meeting, highlights the important role chemical engineers have played in the creation of today’s existing fuels and the role they will continue to play in developing alternative fuels in the future. The ultimate goal of the competition is to teach students – our future scientists -- to think creatively about alternative fuel technology.

“The Chem-E-Car competition is a great way for our future engineers to apply chemical engineering principles in a creative way, in a team setting – much as they will in the ‘real world’ once they graduate,” said David Rosenthal, AIChE president. “These students show real creativity and promise, and some day, these technologies could be used commercially.”

In the competition, students create load-carrying cars using a variety of materials and fueling methods.  The designs showcase the teams’ creativity, ranging from a car made of LEGO® components powered by hand warmers and dry ice to a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle modeled after a MarioKart car.  Teams qualify by placing at regional competitions throughout the year.

The student engineers do not know the size and weight of the load their car has to carry or the distance it must travel until the competition begins.  The students then scramble to calculate how to get their car as close to the distance goal as possible.  This year, the cars had to carry 300 millileters of water for 21 meters, and Cornell University was dead-on the finish line, managing to carry the load for 21 meters exactly and taking the $2,000 first place prize.

This is the third time Cornell placed first in the National Chem-E-Car competition.  They also won in 2008 and 2010.

The second place award went to the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez for their car using a motor powered by a hydrogen peroxide reaction. They also won the Spirit of Competition award.  Oklahoma State Univeristy took third with a car using a baking soda and vinegar reaction.  The Inherent Safety in Design Award (SACHE) went to the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga. The University of Washington won honors for the most creative drive system, chosen by the judges, and the Golden Tire Award, which is the most innovative design as chosen by the Chem-E-Car teams.

Images of the cars may be obtained by contacting Danielle Gross at 717.418.9001 or gross@thebravogroup.com.

About AIChE

AIChE is a professional society of nearly 45,000 chemical engineers in 92 countries.  Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society.  

Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 40,000 chemical engineers in 92 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.