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Student Energy Challenge Americas winner: University of Missouri
Student Energy Challenge Americas winner: University of Toronto
Student Energy Challenge 2013: Purdue University
Student Energy Challenge 2013: University of British Columbia

Students preparing to do battle in ultra energy-efficient cars shared their visions of the future of energy. On the final day of Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013, four teams received awards for their inspiring ideas around energy production and use.

A new prize category, The Shell Student Energy Challenge, was introduced at Shell Eco-marathon Americas this year. With the world’s population and global demand for energy growing, this prize was designed to spark reflection among the next generation of engineers and scientists. Participants competing to drive the furthest on the least energy also considered the wider energy context of the event.

“We were inspired to participate in The Shell Student Energy Challenge because it’s important to think about what the future of energy will look like and how our world will be powered,” said Naadaa Zakiyyan, a student from the winning University of Missouri team. “There will be a milestone in 2050 when we will change from relying on coal and oil to more renewable sources – like wind and solar.”

The challenge asked Shell Eco-marathon students to contribute to the conversation around the future energy challenge by creating an original visual infographic – a graphic visual representation of information – that answers one of three energy-related questions.

Teams considered which energy sources might be in the mix to understand where opportunities to conserve energy might lay in the future.  

“In the year 2050, my assumptions are that oil would continue to be one of the biggest energy sources but not the only one, as it is today, in the global energy mix,”  said runner-up Mayukh Chakraborty from the University of Toronto . “I expect it will be at about 20%, with solar at about 22%. Hydroelectric and geothermal will also be bigger energy sources in the future.”

Bright ideas

Having considered the energy mix in the next 40-50 years, students also proposed energy-saving solutions. Some teams rose to the occasion with insightful, creative and actionable ideas. Here are just a few of the ideas that emerged from this challenge:

  • The team from Sullivan High School notes that a focus on improved insulation for homes and buildings would lower energy use by decreasing the demand for heating and cooling systems.
  • The University of Michigan Supermileage team suggests using natural gas as a bridge between coal and renewable technologies, especially in developing countries.
  • The University of Missouri team analysed the cost and output of future energy sources, including geothermal, biofuel, hydroelectricity, wind and solar power.

Shell representatives reviewed each entry carefully and passed the best infographics to a VIP panel of judges, including Dan Kammen, a Professor in the Energy and Resources Group. The panel announced the four winners during the awards ceremony on Sunday evening at Shell Eco-marathon Americas:

  • First Place: University of Missouri; received $5,000
  • Second Place: University of Toronto; received $3,000
  • Third Place: Purdue University; received $2,000
  • Fourth Place: University of British Columbia; received $1,000

This new prize will also be open to students participating in Shell Eco-marathon Europe and Shell Eco-marathon Asia. We can’t wait to see what new ideas students from all around the world will contribute to the conversation!