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We attended the 2018 Shell Make the Future and Eco-marathon and came away impressed

For the first time in India, Shell Make the Future featured the Eco-marathon and we were at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) to witness it

An oil company leading the charge to promote fuel-efficiency sounds counter-productive at first, but then Shell is not your average oil company. Nitin Prasad, Chairman, Shell Companies in India, said that Shell are making huge steps into the field of energy transition. It does seem fair that they are the ones to spearhead this commendable movement.

“Make the Future” is a platform for students, industrialists, and companies. What this assortment of brilliant minds have in common is their ultimate goal of overcoming the impending energy handicap at the global level. Spread over four days at the MMRT, the event gave us a chance to witness some intense competition and some innovative ideas in the field of energy-efficiency. To be more specific, there were exhibitions and panel discussions, and the highlight, of course, the Eco-marathon.

Shell also announced the launch of their NXplorers programme, a global initiative to equip schoolchildren with the skills necessary to change the future. The primary focus of this effort is to encourage more students to pursue the science stream at school and this programme is currently being implemented in 14 countries across the world. In the next three years, Shell aim to take the NXplorers programme to 2.6 lakh students at over 3,000 schools.

One part of the pit-lane was taken over by displays featuring Shell’s own innovations and collaborations with some big names in the automotive and energy industry. However, the real showstoppers of the exhibition were the projects made by school students. Over the past few months, students from various parts of the state had designed and developed solutions that utilized energy effectively to perform demanding tasks. From that collection, the top four were displayed at the arena. Simultaneously, in the hospitality area, panel discussions were under way. Specialists, entrepreneurs, and market leaders presented and discussed some of the prevalent problems in the energy space. Things became particularly interesting when solutions were developed and structures for feasible outcomes were laid out.

Eco-marathon

The Eco-marathon is an event of global repute that gives college students an opportunity to design, build, and drive energy-efficient vehicles. Students can design and run either of two types of cars: Prototype or UrbanConcept. The former is a futuristic and highly aerodynamic vehicle while the UrbanConcept resembles modern cars that are used on the road. The categories for the cars were Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and Battery Electric. Internal combustion cars were allowed to use petrol, diesel or biofuel while the electric cars could use either hydrogen fuel cells or lithium-based batteries. The students have to design and manufacture these vehicles which will then be subjected to a technical inspection by the Shell team. The weight of the entire competition was borne by the students because they had to take care of finance themselves. ‘Where is motivation?’ you ask? A total prize money of up to Rs 20 lakh awaited the winners.

We attended the 2018 Shell Make the Future and Eco-marathon and came away impressed

The off-track rounds screened and finally admitted 20 teams, including a group of students from Oman. The worthy finalists had a weekend to re-assemble their cars, pass scrutiny, do trial runs, and post impressive scores. Almost all cars were up and running by the end of the first day, but passing the Shell team’s scrupulous inspection proved to be a tough task. By the end of the penultimate day, only a handful of teams had been given the green signal to begin the runs.

We attended the 2018 Shell Make the Future and Eco-marathon and came away impressed

Pressure began building up on the final day after a few teams began posting numbers on the scoreboard. More teams cleared the scrutiny and competition was under way in earnest. The teams and drivers alike toiled hard to make the most of the time available to them. At the end of the day, Team Averera, Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, took home the trophy for the Battery Electric Prototype after clocking a whopping 362.5 km/kWh. Elated, the team said, ‘The feeling of accomplishment is amazing. Our project is a testimony to the team’s hard work and perseverance. To participate and win in the first edition of Shell Eco-marathon in India is the icing on the cake.’ Team DTU Supermileage, Delhi Technical University, walked away as champions in the ICE Urban Concept category. Their car achieved an impressive 154 km/litre. With a car that returned 129.2 km/litre, Team Eco Titans from VIT University bagged first place in the ICE Prototype category.

We attended the 2018 Shell Make the Future and Eco-marathon and came away impressed

After the success of the first edition, it looks like we can certainly look forward to more intense competition in the forthcoming editions.

Also read: Interview of Nitin Prasad, Chairman, Shell Companies in India

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

 

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