The Chem-E-Car competition, first held in 1999, is a fun and practical way for chemical engineering students to apply their knowledge of ChemE principles while helping build interest and expertise in alternative fuels. Each year students design and build a car, then just before the competition begins they are handed the specifications for the race. In this year’s event, students were challenged to transport 250 mL of water 77 feet. Each team gets two chances to tweak its car's power system to meet the race specs, with the team's final score being its best attempt at meeting the established distance. Northeastern University came the closest to the finish line and received the top prize of $2,000.
Finishing second and taking home $1,000 was the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, using a decomposition reaction of hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide. Third place and $500 went to Louisiana State University with its car powered by the acid-base reaction of citric acid with sodium carbonate.
Start thinking about next year.
Puerto Rico's "Coki Turbo"
LSU's "Swamp Thing"
Northeastern University took top honors at the national Chem-E-Car competition held this week at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) national meeting in Nashville. The team’s car, called “The Aluminator,” was powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and defeated 30 other shoebox-sized cars.