UL Chemical Engineering students are participating in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Chem-E-Car competition.

University of Louisiana Chemical EngineeringFor the first time, UL Chemical Engineering students are participating in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Chem-E-Car competition sponsored by Chevron. Team members will design and construct a chemically powered (i.e., runs off of some chemical reaction) vehicle within certain size constraints. For this year’s competition the Chem-E-Car, roughly the size of a shoe box, will be powered by methanol fuel cells. Not until the actual competition do the competitors learn the distance that the car must travel and the specified cargo the vehicle must carry. Teams compete at regional conferences and the winner at each regional level will be eligible to compete at the national conference. The winner is determined by a combined score with points being awarded for traveling the correct

University of Louisiana Chemical EngineeringUL’s Chem-E-Car team is sponsored through a ULS Serves grant applied for by Dr. William Chirdon, Faculty Advisor to UL’s AIChE Student Chapter. This is the first time that the AIChE Chapter has been involved in a service learning project and is hoped that the students will find this aspect of service to the community to be an experience which enhances and enriches their classroom learning opportunities and helps them develop presentations skills and an ethic of service to the community. The team has already begun to visit area schools (grades K-12) with a presentation about alternative energy, recycling, environmental issues and the importance of math/science and engineering in addressing the energy needs and environmental concerns of the future. Their first presentation was made on October 15, 2009 to Early Academy students at the South Louisiana Community College. In addition to the Chem-E-Car the presentation team will show devices which demonstrate the conversion of wind power and solar power to hydrogen and a small remote-controlled hydrogen fuel cell toy car.

Sponsorship is available to local industry and to individuals who are interested in supporting this endeavor—both the competition and the community outreach aspects require funding beyond the initial ULS Serves grant. For additional information on sponsorship opportunities, interested parties may contact the team through the following e-mail addresses: ULChemECar@gmail.com or wchirdon@louisiana.edu.

 


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