The graduate and undergraduate students are part of a team competing in EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future, a three-year collegiate engineering competition established by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. They've spent the past year planning their design with the goal of making the GM-donated car a better, more efficient hybrid vehicle than what is currently on the roadways. Now, they get to see their hard work pay off as they begin to implement their design into the car.
The EcoCAR 2 competition challenges the next generation of automotive engineers to reduce the environmental impact of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. UT is one of 15 universities in North America participating in the challenge.
A year into the competition, the students have used math-based tools to model and design their own unique architecture for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. They'll select the system's powertrain components the same way major automakers do.
"The real-world experience these students are receiving is invaluable," said David Irick, co-adviser and research professor in the College of Engineering's Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering. "They will actually get to see something they've developed in practice. But what is more is that we are training our future engineers to create products that take into account the environmental impact."
The arrival of the Malibu marks the official entry into Phase II of the competition where the design is applied to the car. The design, called series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle architecture, will improve the vehicle's environmental impact and efficiency in three ways.
First, the vehicle will be able to couple and de-couple the engine from the wheels while still providing electric power from the battery and/or generator to drive an electric motor. Second, the vehicle will have a large, high-voltage battery pack which allows the vehicle to run on electric power. If the battery—which can be charged using a standard wall outlet—gets depleted, the vehicle will use a combination of an engine and electric motor. Third, the vehicle will utilize E85 fuel which is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and burns cleaner.
"The technology in these advanced vehicles is allowing us to use multiple sources of energy within the vehicle, which, in the end, allows us to use less fuel more efficiently on an average commute," said Mitchel Routh, controls team lead and a graduate student in mechanical engineering.
While translating their design into reality, the team is also developing a working vehicle that meets the competition's goals. The competition culminates at the end of each academic year when all of the schools and their vehicles come together to compete in more than a dozen static and dynamic events. UT won sixth place in Phase I's competition. Winners receive cash awards. Since 1989, UT has had more than 500 students participate in similar projects.
GM provides production vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support to EcoCAR 2. The DOE and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, provide competition management, team evaluation and technical and logistical support. In total the 15 teams have been given $745 million. UT's team has received additional support of $50,000 from Denso North America Foundation.
For more information on the student engineering program, the participating schools, or the competition sponsors, please visit www.ecocarchallenge.org or www.greengarageblog.org.
IHP Project reaches Final Round of European Innovation Radar Prize
22.09.2016 | IHP - Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik
DFG funds new research project on seagrass and macroalgae ecosystems in the tropics with €400,000
12.09.2016 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenökologie (ZMT)
Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.
Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications...
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...
Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.
Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...
With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...
30.09.2016 | Event News
29.09.2016 | Event News
28.09.2016 | Event News
30.09.2016 | Materials Sciences
30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences
30.09.2016 | Life Sciences