Curtin Sarawak gearing up for Shell Eco-Marathon

MIRI: Drawing on its success in the last four editions of the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia, Curtin University Sarawak (Curtin Sarawak) will be competing in this years event in a new category with a brand new car and racing team.

The new Enggang Emas Racing Team comprises of electronic and communication engineering student Mohammad Naqiuddin Ammar Othman and mechanical engineering students Muhammad Yusof Azhar, Muhammad Redzuan Jailani, Mohammad Mahadhir Jailani, Yeong Siew Ping, Simon Luthsamy and Muhamad Hazrin Abdul Nasir.

The annual race, which will be held at Luneta Park, Manila, Philippines from Feb 26 to March 1 with its prototype battery electric vehicle named Catching Fire.

It will be the first time that Curtin Sarawak will be participating in the Prototype Battery Electric category, having competed in the Prototype Petrol Gasoline and Urban Concept Petrol Gasoline categories previously.

In 2012, Curtin Sarawaks team came in fourteenth out of forty teams in the Urban Concept category.

According to team supervisor and head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Curtin Sarawaks Faculty of Engineering and Science, Associate Professor Sharul Sham Dol, the Prototype Battery Electric category has been dominated by teams from Rattanakosin Technological College (Thailand), Guangzhou College of South China University of Technology (China) and Qatar University (Qatar) in the past.

Nevertheless, the team is confident it will be able to put up a strong showing with its new car, he enthused.

The design and development of the car started in March last year, with Muhammad Yusof applying computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to study the aerodynamics of the vehicle design and conducting finite element analysis (FEA) of the chassis and designing the power train system. Other team members then worked collectively to construct and test the vehicle.

The car can travel up to 50 kilometres using a single 48V 10Ah lithium-ion rechargeable battery with a maximum speed of 35 to 40 km/h due to the vehicles lightweight design, streamlined body and efficient battery management system.

Im very happy were taking part in the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia again, and there is every reason to, seeing as we have a very strong engineering programme and tremendous talent among the students in our Faculty of Engineering and Science.

The university will continue to support our Eco-Marathon racing teams, and hopefully, they will start winning some of the top prizes, said Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Mienczakowski at a symbolic send-off for the team at the Curtin Sarawak campus late last week.

To be eligible for participation, all competing teams need to go through two phases of the registration process involving submitting technical drawings of their vehicles, which will then be deliberated by the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia Selection Committee prior to the posting of results.

Only the top teams are selected based on the strength of their applications. Other criteria taken into consideration are diversity in competing countries, the educational institutions, fuel categories and engine types.

The Shell Eco-Marathon, which began its Asian leg in 2010 at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, is a unique competition that challenges undergraduate students to build the most fuel-efficient and environment-friendly vehicle that can travel the furthest using the least amount of fuel.

This year, the event will return to the Philippines to continue to challenge students from all over Asia, Africa and the Middle East in showcasing their skills and addressing new challenges in developing new approaches to sustainable mobility.