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June 2017 NUI Galway Student Energy-Efficient Car Breaks 10,000 miles-per-gallon Barrier and Jumps in International Rankings
The Geec 3.0 (Galway energy-efficient car), designed and built by NUI Galway engineering students, recently jumped up the international rankings in the premiere global competition for extreme fuel-efficiency in cars, the Shell Eco-marathon Europe, in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
The students designed, built and tested version 3.0 of the Geec, and competed against top European university engineering schools in London. The global competition is a race in efficiency, not speed, where the winner is the car that completes the course using the least amount of fuel or energy. NUI Galway was taking part for the third time, and remains the only Irish competitor.
This year’s track consisted of 10 laps over 15.7 kilometres, including a steep climb which previously caused trouble for many of the ultralight low-powered cars. This time, the Geec displayed total reliability and the team progressed quickly, surpassing last year’s score of 236 kilometres per kilowatt-hour on the second run. After a judicious change of motor and gears, and some late-night re-engineering for weight reduction, the team hoped to make a leap in performance.
NUI Galway fourth-year engineering student Dylan Ryan from Tipperary, one of the design team leaders, said: “The last few hours before our final runs were the make-or-break point. We knew what score we could theoretically achieve, so it was a matter of whether we wanted to take a risk and start chopping weight out of the car, or use those last few hours to tune and optimise the car. We chose to optimise.”
The Geec team completed 10 trouble-free laps with a record energy score of 354 kilometres per kilowatt-hour. This placed the team in a final 13th place of 41 competitors in the battery-electric prototype category, a jump from 21st place in 2016. In just three years, successive Geec teams have progressed from newcomer status to the upper tiers of the competition, where they now aim to compete amongst the most advanced ultra-efficient prototype cars in the world. The car’s performance is the equivalent to approximately 10,500 miles per gallon of diesel.
Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, commented: “The Geec project is clearly a great learning experience for the students involved, and a great opportunity to showcase the University internationally, and particularly the quality of the work underway in the College of Engineering and Informatics.”
Professor Peter McHugh, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “The Geec is one of the shining lights of success in the College of Engineering and Informatics, representing a wonderful collaboration between students and staff and across the engineering disciplines.”
The Geec team consists of 20 students in Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic, Electronic and Computer, and Energy Systems engineering, from first to fourth year, mentored by lecturers Dr Maeve Duffy, Dr Rory Monaghan, Dr Nathan Quinlan and Dr Martin Glavin from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway.
Engineering student Niamh Keogh from Oughterard in Co Galway is one of the two Geec drivers and also worked on analysis and design of the car. She added: “The Geec is one of the most challenging but rewarding projects I've participated in. Nothing compares to the thrill of getting to race the car after putting so much time and work into designing, building and perfecting it.”
The Geec has been generously sponsored in 2016 and 2017 by the Tony Ryan Trust through Galway University Foundation, Shell E&P Ireland, Blackstone Launchpad, ÉireComposites, CADFEM UK & Ireland, ANSYS, Molex, GE, Tool Trays, David Nestor Freight Services, Enform Plastics, MathWorks and IPG Automotive.