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Louisiana students compete in Houston

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Louisiana competitors in Houston Louisiana competitors in Houston
Louisiana competitors in Houston Louisiana competitors in Houston

HOUSTON, Tx., (KNOE 8 News) - Louisiana students competed against hundreds of teams from across the United States in the Seventh Annual Shell-Eco marathon (SEMA) in Houston, Texas, this past weekend.

Prior to the three day competition, teams designed and built energy efficient cars that focused on two required elements: maximum efficiency and practical design. The purpose of this year's challenge, "Global Energy: A Look to the Future," was meant to motivate the next generation of engineers and scientists to meet the rising demand for energy, while taking into consideration population size, city CO2 emissions, and natural elements as they relate to energy.

Student teams competed in two divisions: Prototype in which teams focused on maximum efficiency; and Urban Concept where the focus was on creating more practical car designs. Students could enter their cars into one of seven categories: conventional petrol and diesel, biofuels, fuel made from natural gas (GTL), hydrogen, solar, or electricity. During the competition, teams made multiple attempts to travel as far as possible on only one liter of fuel. In addition to the divisional prizes, awards were given for teamwork, eco-design, safety, and technical innovation. The Cyber Innovation Center's academic program, NICERC (National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center)
sponsored six high schools, making up five teams that participated in this year's event. Those teams included Benton High School, North Desoto High School, Parkway High School, Ruston High School, and one combined team consisting of Airline High School and Haughton High School students. In the Prototype division (Battery Electric category), Benton High School placed 6th among high schools and 10th overall at 197.9 km/kWh while Parkway High School placed 10th among high schools and 19th overall at 87.4 km/kWh. In the Prototype division (Gasoline category), the combined Airline/Haughton team placed 9th among high schools and 23rd overall at 263 mpg followed closely by Ruston High School who placed 11th among high schools and 25th overall at 243.2 mpg.

"The SEMA competition offers a range of opportunities to really apply lessons in science and mathematics toward the solution of engineering and technology related-problems…. At one point in the competition, after we completed our first run, we needed to convert the number of joules of energy our vehicle used during the run into the number of miles per kilowatt-hour achieved. That was a math problem that everyone on the team wanted to know how to work! You can't get that kind of motivation out of a textbook," shared Mr. Marvin Nelson, Benton High School Teacher and Team Coach.

"Shell Eco-marathon is a phenomenal competition that motivates and prepares students for a future in STEM and allows them to work as a team to accomplish a common goal. It's inspiring to see our local high schools dedicate hours toward designing, fabricating, and testing their cars and competing against other top universities and high schools across the country," added NICERC's Deputy Director, Paul Spivey.

For several years now, Louisiana Tech University has surpassed high expectations and inspired the local area high schools to compete as well. Louisiana Tech University returned to the competition this year and earned 1st place in the Urban Concept (Diesel category) at 315.9 mpg and 4th place in the Urban Concept (Gasoline category) at 354.8 mpg.

Participating in challenging competitions such as the Shell-Eco marathon encourages students to be innovative thinkers and helps students understand the current state of technology and energy usage. The Cyber Innovation Center is proud to support Shell-Eco marathon and the collaborative learning experiences that it brings into the classroom.  

To learn more about the Shell-Eco marathon or to see pictures of the local participating high schools, please visit http://www.nicerc.org/shell-eco-marathon-/

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