Shell

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While many students spent the weeks and months leading up to spring break preparing for midterm exams, an ambitious group of students geared up for another important test. They are the 70 teams from 18 high schools and 31 universities across North America – including Canada, Mexico and the United States – participating in Shell Eco-marathon® Americas 2011. The test? To push the boundaries of fuel efficiency and see which team can go the farthest using the least amount of energy at Shell Eco-marathon Americas, taking place April 14-17, 2011 on the streets of downtown Houston.

Shell Eco-marathon is an inspiring part of Shell's "Smarter Mobility" program, which is aimed at meeting the needs of today's drivers as society faces an increasing demand on energy for transport. While alternative energies such as hydrogen and advanced biofuels have real potential, there will not be enough of these energy sources to make a measureable difference for another decade or more. But, as we mature solutions for the future, Shell continues to bring technical advancements to meet transport challenges in ways that are efficient, affordable and emit less CO2. In a word, smarter.  

Shell is contributing to a smarter transportation future with increasing options for consumers and credible advice for markets and policy makers. Through Smarter Mobility, Shell is helping its customers with advancements in smarter products, smarter infrastructure and smarter use. With an eye on the future of transportation, the students and their innovative designs at Shell Eco-marathon are competitively focused on smarter use.

Shell Eco-marathon continues to grow and challenge students to be innovative in their fuel efficiency solutions. In that spirit, an e-mobility category has been added to the 2011 competitions. This category includes both Prototype and UrbanConcept vehicles powered by electric motors using hydrogen, solar or, for the first time, 'Plug-in' battery energy sources.

"Our team is so excited that Shell included plug-in vehicles at Shell Eco-marathon Americas this year because we are all so interested to test what electricity can do for the future of mobility," said Trevor Fleck, Team Captain of the Mater Dei High School team. The school took home the highest honors at Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2008. "We have been working really hard to build the new vehicle, the 7th Gen, to compete in this category and we can't wait to get to Houston to see how our vehicle performs on the track!"

According to Mark Singer, Global Project Manager for Shell Eco-marathon, "Using today's – and tomorrow's – fuels in smart ways also makes our global Shell Eco-marathon competitions so inspiring. After 5,000 students and many impressive designs, a French team achieved the equivalent of more than 11,000 miles per gallon during Shell Eco-marathon 2010 series. Now that's smarter use."

Like last year, student teams are encouraged to participate in one or both of the Prototype and UrbanConcept classes. The Prototype class invites student teams to enter futuristic prototypes – streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements, such as drag reduction. The UrbanConcept class, introduced at the 2009 Americas event, focuses on more "roadworthy" fuel-efficient vehicles. Aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers, these vehicles are closer in appearance to the higher-mileage cars seen on roads today. For both classes, teams can use any conventionally available energy source – including fuels such as diesel and gasoline as well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biomass, solar and, now, Plug-in electricity.

As of today, the 70 teams participating in Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2011 have entered 62 Prototype entries and 15 UrbanConcept entries (Note: some teams have multiple vehicle entries in different categories). The Prototype entries consist of 43 vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, including 35 by gasoline, four by ethanol, three by diesel fuel, and one by FAME. The 19 Prototype vehicles powered by e-mobility include 10 by Plug-in electricity, four by fuel cell/hydrogen technology and five by solar The UrbanConcept entries consist of 11 vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, including eight by gasoline and three by diesel fuel. The four UrbanConcept vehicles powered by e-mobility include two by Plug-in electricity, one by fuel cell/hydrogen and one by solar.  

Some of the schools participating in the fifth year of Shell Eco-marathon Americas include California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; Colorado School of Mines; Mater Dei High School; Purdue University; Penn State University; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of Houston. For the complete 2011 roster, please visit: http://www.shell.com/home/content/ecomarathon/americas/media/news_and_media_releases/.

From vehicle design to financing, student teams manage their projects from start to finish. The winning teams in both the Prototype and UrbanConcept classes receive a grand prize of $5,000 USD for their school. Shell will also have several "off-track" awards again this year, including a "People's Choice Award," the "Safety Award," "Technical Innovation Award" sponsored by Southwest Research and "Eco-Design Award," sponsored by Autodesk, among others.  

In addition to the student competition, Shell along with media sponsor The New York Times, will host the 2011 Energy Summit: Innovative Solutions for an Evolving Energy Future. The two-day symposium will be attended by a variety of energy experts and thought leaders representing policy, the environment, business and academia. Former New Mexico Governor and US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson will deliver a keynote address.

Shell Eco-marathon Americas is free and open to the public; so, spectators can come out to watch and cheer on the teams. There will be a variety of activities and displays on-hand at Discovery Green and George R. Brown Convention Center, including: science and education displays in the park for children and families including Houston Natural Science Museum, Children's Museum of Houston, the Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Texas Engineers, the DISCO Green concert and a variety of educational Shell displays and booths in the park. Additionally, the National CSTEM Challenge, which is a cross curriculum project incorporating Communications, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to encourage students of all ages to develop problem solving skills and solutions, will also be taking place at George R. Brown Convention Center.

To help ensure Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2011 event is successful for all the student participants, Shell is pleased to welcome the 2011 event sponsors, including Autodesk, Michelin, Pennzoil ULTRA, SKF USA Inc. and Southwest Research Institute.

The 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 vehicles. 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.  

The full line-up of Shell Eco-marathon 2011 events include:

5th Shell Eco-marathon Americas: April 14-17, 2011, on a street track around the Discovery Green in Houston, Texas
28th Shell Eco-marathon Europe: May 26-28, 2011, at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz track in Germany
2nd Shell Eco-marathon Asia: July 6-9, 2011, at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

For more information about Shell Eco-marathon Americas, please visit: www.shell.com/ecomarathon

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