Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chicago Students Win Ethanol Vehicle Challenge

Date:
June 15, 1999
Source:
University Of Illinois At Chicago
Summary:
A team of engineering students from the University of Illinois at Chicago won the 1999 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge on May 26, demonstrating both their engineering prowess and the commercial promise of ethanol, a corn-based fuel.

Car exceeds California low emissions standards

A team of engineering students from the University of Illinois at Chicago won the 1999 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge on May 26, demonstrating both their engineering prowess and the commercial promise of ethanol, a corn-based fuel.

More than 200 students from 14 colleges and universities competed in the contest, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Natural Resources Canada and General Motors. The UIC team won first place overall, first place in fuel economy, best flame-arrestor design (to prevent flames from an external source from reaching the fuel tank) and tied for first place in emissions tests with the University of Texas at El Paso and Wayne State University.

Government and the automotive industry are interested in ethanol because it is inherently cleaner burning and because it is derived from corn, and thus has the potential to reduce American dependence on foreign oil.

Much of the UIC team's success came from its dogged determination to reduce emissions and fuel consumption, according to Brianno Coller, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

"That required a lot of painstaking tinkering with the engine on the part of the students," he said.

A catalyst provided by AlliedSignal, Inc. and a secondary air-injection system designed by the UIC team were keys to reducing emissions. The catalyst reduces all three components of emissions - hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen. The secondary air-injection system picks up unburned raw fuel that remains in the exhaust stream after combustion, in particular reducing hydrocarbon emissions.

"With these two devices, we came up with a system that exceeds the California Low Emissions Vehicle standards," said UIC team leader Michael Svestka, a senior.

The team is particularly proud of its design for cold-starting the engine, he said. Ethanol is less volatile when cold, leaving the engine prone to hesitate when the driver first presses on the gas pedal.

"To get the engine to start at zero degrees Fahrenheit, we had to heat the air and the fuel," said Svestka. To heat the air, the team arranged for it to flow over electrically heated coils, "kind of like those in your toaster, only magnified 10 times," he said. They warmed the fuel by bringing it near engine coolant that had been heated during a previous engine run and stored in a kind of super-insulating thermos.

Their ingenuity paid off.

"It's great to win first place," said Svestka. "The competition was very tight. We beat the second place team by only six and a half points out of a thousand."

Last fall, General Motors gave each team a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck running on ordinary gasoline. Over the course of the school year, working tens of hours a week on their own time, the students re-engineered the trucks to run solely on E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline primer).

The students and their faculty advisors were responsible for finding sponsors. UIC's 12-member team, guided by Coller, raised well over $100,000. Sponsors gave in-kind gifts as well as cash. Automotive Research Labs, Inc., of Harvey, IL provided emissions tests, for example, while AlliedSignal Inc. provided experimental new catalysts for use with the E85 fuel. Ethanol was provided by the competition, but the students also were able to refuel at Argonne National Laboratory and at a commercial gas station in Des Plaines.

In May, teams presented their designs to General Motors and Department of Energy officials, explaining how they confronted the inevitable design trade-offs. Judges also examined the engines, rating them on craftsmanship and their potential use in a realistic production line.

The competition began in earnest May 19 at General Motors' Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. Teams had to demonstrate a significant improvement in fuel economy and a reduction in exhaust emissions compared to conventional pickup trucks, while maintaining driveability, performance, and consumer appeal. The competition wrapped up with a 600-mile motorcade from Lansing, MI to Springfield, IL, making stops at the state capitol buildings, the GM assembly plant in Fort Wayne, IN, and the Williams Ethanol plant in Peoria, IL.

UIC team members were Svestka, of Bolingbrook; Phil Baranek of Westmont; Andrew Chow and Brian Gorman of Skokie; and Patrick Barasa, Mirko Barbir, Justin O'Connor, Peter Probst, Robert Ruda, Giuseppe Sammartino and Christopher Gano of Chicago. UIC sponsors were the Illinois Corn Growers Association; the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs; Federal-Mogul Corp.; BERU; Borg Warner Automotive; Centaur Thermal; AlliedSignal, Inc.; RC Fuel Injection and Automotive Research Labs, Inc., of Harvey, IL.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Chicago. "Chicago Students Win Ethanol Vehicle Challenge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990615080429.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Chicago. (1999, June 15). Chicago Students Win Ethanol Vehicle Challenge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990615080429.htm
University Of Illinois At Chicago. "Chicago Students Win Ethanol Vehicle Challenge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990615080429.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins