NUI Galway Engineering Students Best in Europe in Energy Efficiency Competition

The Geec team 2021
Dec 11 2020 Posted: 10:10 GMT

Team behind Geec battery powered car develop fuel savings aerodynamics for HGVs

The team behind the Galway Energy-Efficient Car at NUI Galway have been crowned European champions in a major student engineering competition.

Usually the team would race at Shell Eco-marathon Europe, where the tests are ones of efficiency rather than speed but with slim prospects for track time this year the students took part in design competitions as part of the 2021 virtual programme.

The team excelled by identifying aerodynamics as a major cause of energy loss in heavy trucks and proposed easily fitted modifications for conventional HGVs and lorries, reducing energy waste and CO2 emissions by about one fifth.

Professor Peter McHugh, Head of School of Engineering at NUI Galway, said: “This is a truly amazing achievement for NUI Galway Engineering students, supported by our enthusiastic and hardworking staff.

“This success is further confirmation of the world leading nature of our Engineering education at the University and the world-class calibre of our students.

“It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm and commitment of our students still very much to the fore even in these challenging times.”

The Geec road freight team were declared outright winners of the European region for their research and innovation on improving aerodynamics of heavy trucks in the category of Decarbonising Road Freight Transport.

Norman Koch, Global General Manager of Shell Eco-marathon, singled out the Geec for a special commendation.

Mr Koch said: "The team did a phenomenal job across all these categories they entered, and the scores were extremely tight. So well done to the team. A lot of hard work there and some amazing results."

Éanna Wood, a second-year Mechanical Engineering student and member of the road freight team, said: “We found the biggest aerodynamic inefficiencies associated with modern HGVs and designed parts to reduce these. Overall, these aerodynamic improvements could reduce fuel consumption by over 20% at motorway speeds.” 

Eoghan Moylan, fourth year in Mechanical Engineering, explained the modifications: “The aim was to reduce aerodynamic drag across the whole vehicle. The first part is the front wind deflector, which also benefits safety by preventing access to the blind spot under the windscreen and also provides for energy absorption in the event of a collision.

“The second part is the use of shroud between the truck cab and trailer, preventing turbulent airflow forming in this gap. The third part is a combination of dimpled wheel covers and vortex generators to minimise the extent of turbulent airflow at the rotating wheels and the end of the trailer.”

Adam Fahey, Geec team member and 4th year Electronic and Computer Engineering student, said: “The team are hugely grateful to everybody who voted across Galway and Ireland and the amazing support we have received on social media.

“We are limited in what we can do with the Geec itself this year but that has allowed us to devote our time and energy to other areas and apply our expertise in new and innovative ways.

“Our achievements so far speak volumes about the talent being supported and empowered here in NUI Galway.” 

sGeec facts -

:: The car is designed, built, driven and raced by NUI Galway students from Mechanical, Electrical and Electronic, Electronic and Computer, and Energy Systems engineering, from first to fourth year.

:: The three-wheeled single-seat battery-electric Geec has been designed, developed and raced since 2013 and ranked in the top 15 energy-efficient cars in Europe.

:: The car achieved the equivalent of more than 10,000 miles per gallon on a London street circuit.

:: The Geec won the prestigious Technical Innovation Award at Shell Eco-marathon Europe in 2018.

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