The report from the Shell Eco-marathon 2018.
Imagine the following: You feel like something sweet and go to the next bakery. There are fresh donuts. But before you come to the order, the saleswoman tells you; Yes, they taste delicious, but have you ever thought of something healthier? We would all be a little confused. It was the same with me the first time I heard about the SHELL Eco-marathon. Why, of all things, should a company that lives on selling energy come up with a competition to reward maximum efficiency? A contradiction? Or just the right way? Time to find out exactly.
London in summer 2018 - it's hot, Habby is sweating and if you don't believe in climate change yet, arguments will no longer help. Yes, no, polemics and politics are left out - this place is purely about science. Most of us know SHELL as operators of petrol stations. The place where we fill up our babies, we quickly buy flowers for the woman, or a little something for the kids. Or magazines. Or, or - or. But SHELL is also the patron of a very special event and has been for many years. The SHELL Eco-marathon is a competition in which the teams do not work on lap times, but everything, absolutely everything is subordinated to efficiency.
A few weeks ago I visited a group of students from Munich University of Applied Sciences and learned a lot about their project. There was also a video about this:
After realizing that these students were serious, I also had to watch the competition in London. I met my Hydro2Motion team there again and took a bit of the emotional rollercoaster that these students experienced. More, and the resolution is in the above linked video. But back to the comparison with the confectioner.
SHELL and the Eco-Marathon 2018
Regardless of whether it is about fuel cell technology, as with the “Hydro2Motion” team, battery electric vehicles or classic combustion engines. Anyone taking part in the Shell Eco-marathon wants to push the boundaries. And for SHELL that is Eco-marathon become an ingenious means of communication. Away from the image of the pure gas station operator. Towards a Woodstock festival for budding engineers. This event has been developing since 1985 and this year there were 150 teams from 24 countries in Europe and Africa who made the trip to London. A vision for the future in each case. There are basically two different classes. Our “Hydro2Motion” team has opted for the prototype class, and there is also the “UrbanConcept” class, which not only focuses on maximum efficiency, but also has to comply with certain requirements for general roadworthiness. From windshield wipers, indicators to driving lights. In both vehicle classes, the participants can then choose a drive technology. A distinction is first made between electric and combustion drives and then according to the energy source, for example, as with Hydro2Motion, the fuel cell as the energy supplier for the electric motor.
The consumption is extrapolated to one liter of fuel or its equivalent in kilowatt hours, because 15 laps are driven over a circuit of 970 meters in length, for a total of 14,55 kilometers. The time for this is 35 minutes - so a minimum speed is required - because of course it would be easier to use less fuel the slower you drive. But even if it's not about top speeds, a little “speed” is a must.
2.500 kilometers with only one liter of natural gas!
“My team” has not broken the previous record of a French team to cover 2.503 kilometers with just one liter of natural gas. But - a proud 4th place is still a reason to be happy. Because in the end it is not professional teams, but schoolchildren and students who are fighting for the efficiency crown. Young teams who take part in this competition on their own initiative. It's not a compulsory program, it's a voluntary commitment. And if you were in London this weekend in July 2018, you will be able to empathize, a certain ability to suffer is definitely part of it.
And now I feel like a donut!