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A common culture of fuel efficiency
On a university campus in central Norway, an international team of students is combining their talents to prepare for a unique test of energy efficiency. Little time is left before Shell Eco-marathon Europe kicks off. The students from Russia, Spain, Germany, Norway and Iran must rush to complete the car they will try to drive as far as possible on the least energy.
Spring daylight in Trondheim, Norway, lasts for around 16 hours a day. The extra sun is helping an international team of students stay awake as they labour for long hours on their car, the DNV Fuel Fighter. Holed up in a university workshop for days on end, the students have had to quickly learn how to adapt to a variety of cultures.
“At the start we had very different ways of working,” says Nikita Sinansky. Norwegians can expect to work intensely but for shorter periods, he explains, whereas back in Russia people can be content to stay around the clock.
Ruben Masia had a different habit to break: “In Spain we usually start at 8am and finish late,” he says. “But here there is no siesta!”
Over time, however, the team has found a “natural compromise”.
Skills from around the world
Harmonising cultural differences has benefited the team. “It opened our eyes to new ways of collaborating – such as taking decisions as a team rather than following a leader,” says technical manager Siavash Naghdalikhani. He applied the skills he had gained working for an Iranian car company to lead the team in developing the car, from design through to testing.
Ulrich Feldinger from Germany instilled the team with much-needed efficiency: “I divided the team into groups according to their specialisation and ensured people only attended relevant meetings.”
Team DNV Fuel Fighter is uniting under the Norwegian flag, despite its diverse origins. As the country’s sole entry, it is determined to improve on its fifth-place ranking in 2012. The team’s engineers have honed their carbon-fibre car, adding new wheel rims and a lighter engine. This year’s car will run on solar power to promote renewable energy. After all, climate change is a global challenge.
“This competition lets us tackle a real challenge our planet could face,” says Nikita. “It doesn't matter which country we are from!”
Shell student energy challenge
As part of the competition, the team is also producing an infographic that considers how to make cities more energy-efficient in the future. Among the team, this has sparked discussion about the differences between cities. Nikita’s home of Yekaterinburg is an industrial city with 2 million inhabitants and not even 1km of cycle lane, whereas Trondheim’s, 150,000 or so residents tend to rely on public transport, cycling or walking. “We think that people don’t need to live and work in such big cities,” says Nikita. “The way they are managed is less efficient.”
For more on this off-track competition, see www.shell.com/sec-europe.
Who's on the team?
Media communications and IT student Vanja Gjelstenli is the public face of team DNV Fuel Fighter. Aged 24, she has used her communication skills to promote the event to media.
John Ola Buøy
John Ola Buøy is the driver, weighing in at 65kg (around 140 lbs), who will use the stamina and balance he has developed as a professional downhill cyclist. John applied his knowledge of electrical engineering to redesign the car’s engine.
Project manager 30-year-old Nikita Sinansky is responsible for the team’s finances and work schedule. “I am happy to have such amazing freedom, but feel the pressure of such a big challenge”.
Iranian student Siavash Naghdalikhani moved to Trondheim from Tehran to continue his studies. He sees Shell Eco-marathon as a way to demonstrate future fuels, though says that in his home country, “There a lot of oil and gas so it can seem strange to talk about new energy sources!”
Ruben Masia, aged 26 from Spain, likes the hands-on approach in Norway. He has been taking advantage of the snow to learn how to ski cross-country but misses the Spanish sun. He brings expertise in electronics and mechanics: “It’s like working in a real job!”
Ulrich Feldinger spent a year at university in Trondheim for his ERASMUS exchange programme from Germany. Then he returned for six months to help build the Shell Eco-marathon car: “It’s important to show the world what can be done with efficient cars”.
Associate Professor Knut Einar Aasland is the team supervisor. He works in the Department of Engineering Design and Materials at NTNU University and he sees Shell Eco-marathon as beneficial to his students who are “ responsible for the whole project”.
The other team members who have worked long hours on the DNV Fuel Fighter are:
Håvard Fadnes: Graphic designer
Jostein Furseth: Cybernetic engineer
Kristoffer Gryte: Cybernetic engineer
Magnus Holmefjord: Production manager & mechanical engineer
Catrine Hovland: PR & media
Victor Pérez: Electrical engineer
Fredrik Pettersen: Mechanical engineer
Andreas Severinsen: Race manager & mechanical engineer
Read more about their contributions: http://ecomarathon.no/the-team/
|Team name:||DNV Fuel Fighter|
|Car name:||DNV Fuel Fighter|
|Battery source:||Battery electric|
|Unique car features:||New solar panels. A new engine. A control unit with a dashboard.|
|Years in competition:||5|
|Record to beat:||250km/kWh (but 2013 will be first year using solar + electricity)|