Saudi Aramco Review

SEM challenge ... an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience

SEM challenge ... an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience

King Saud University to compete in the Shell Eco-Marathon

After 28 years of successful Shell Eco-Marathon challenges in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, Shell has now launched it in the Middle East and Africa

SHELL and King Saud University has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which Shell will support students from the faculty of engineering to join universities from the region in building ultra fuel-efficient vehicles and participate in the global Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) challenge to be held in Qatar in February 2015.

The MoU was signed by Prof Khalid Alhumaizi, Dean of Engineering college, and Patrick Van Daele, country chairman of Shell in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The signing took place in Shell’s offices in Riyadh in the presence of participating students in the SEM challenge.

After 28 years of successful SEM challenges in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, Shell recently launched the SEM challenge in the Middle East and Africa.

SEM encourages and fosters innovative ideas about fuel-efficiency and the future of transport among high school and university students and challenges students from universities around the world to design and build energy efficient vehicles.

The current highest record achieved was in 2010 by a French team in SEM Europe who were capable of driving 2,500 km on a single litre of fuel – the equivalent of driving from Jazan to Tabuk in Saudi Arabia.

“We are pleased to launch this challenge in the region as part of our global programmes on smart mobility and technology and innovation,” says Patrick Van Daele.

“This is clear evidence of our commitment to help societies meet the energy needs in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible,” he adds.

Vehicles in the SEM can use any conventionally available energy source including fuels such as diesel, gasoline and gas-to-liquids (GTL), as well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, solar and battery electric.

Teams can enter vehicles in two categories, the ‘Prototypes’ group where the primary design consideration is reducing drag and maximising efficiency and ‘Urban Concept’ which focuses on design that is contemporary, but still focusing on fuel efficiency.

King Saud University is now set to join Cairo University, Ain Shams University and other teams from Qatar, UAE and Lebanon, to compete in this global challenge.

“The SEM is a great opportunity for our students to apply what they have learned in university and gain hands-on engineering and project management experience.” says Prof Khalid Alhumaizi, Dean of Engineering college of King Saud University.

“This is a milestone for the universities to develop the first ultra fuel-efficient vehicles ever built in the country and to represent Saudi Arabia for the first time in this high-profile global event,” says Patrick Van Daele.

“I look forward to their participation and wish them the best of luck in this exciting challenge,” he adds.

SEM is a unique competition that challenges students to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car. At three events around the world hundreds of teams compete to travel the furthest on the least amount of energy.

Some achieve distances equivalent to driving from Paris to Moscow (that’s 2,500 km or 1,544 miles) on a single litre of fuel.

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