For the first time ever, one of the world's leading energy-efficiency engineering programmes for students, Shell Eco-marathon, is coming to the Middle East and will be hosted in Qatar under the patronage of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums.
The announcement was made at Web Summit Qatar 2024 Tuesday by Richard Tallant, executive vice president of GTL and managing director of Shell Companies Qatar, together with university students who competed at last year’s Shell Eco-marathon Asia-Pacific and Middle East regional championship.
Commenting on the news, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa, said: “Bringing the Shell Eco-marathon to Qatar marks a significant milestone in our commitment to fostering innovation and sustainability among our nation’s youth and the wider region. This event marks the beginning of the collaboration between our upcoming Qatar Auto Museum and Shell to empower young minds to tackle the pressing challenges of energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. This collaboration underscores Qatar's dedication to shaping a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come.”
Shell Eco-marathon is a global academic programme which tests student teams to design and manufacture energy-efficient vehicles that can travel the farthest with the least amount of fuel. It aims to push the boundaries of what is technically possible and inspire young people to become leading scientists and engineers of future energy solutions.
The programme provides a platform for teams to explore every aspect of design and technology, using their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills to build their own ultra-energy efficient cars, and then take them out on the track in competition.
Every year, three regional championships are held around the world. They are designed for experienced teams to push new boundaries, encouraging innovation and novel approaches to achieving energy efficiency.
Tallant said: “We are thrilled that Shell Eco-marathon is making its debut in the Middle East and will be hosted in Qatar. This decision reflects Qatar’s strong commitment to innovation and education and Qatar’s world-class infrastructure will provide the perfect backdrop for teams to showcase their energy-efficient vehicles. I would like to express my gratitude to HE Sheikha Al Mayassa for her support in bringing Shell Eco-marathon to the country, and to our strategic partners who will help to make this event possible. This marks a significant milestone in our commitment to fostering sustainable innovation in the region.”
At the upcoming 2024 Asia-Pacific and Middle East regional event in Indonesia in July, teams from Qatar University, Texas A&M University at Qatar and University of Doha for Science and Technology, will compete with their purpose-built vehicles.
Student teams can participate in one of two vehicle classes: Urban Concept or Prototype. Urban Concept vehicles have familiar road car features and more closely resemble passenger cars. The Prototype category consist of ultra-efficient, lightweight vehicles which have the potential to reach record breaking distances using the least amount of fuel possible.
The cars are powered by one of three energy sources: internal combustion engine, battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell. They employ advanced engineering techniques, aerodynamics, lightweight materials and innovative designs to maximise efficiency.
On top of technical skills, Shell Eco-marathon also encourages collaboration, teamwork and problem-solving skills among the participating students. It provides a platform for young minds to showcase their talent, creativity and passion for engineering and sustainability.
At the Shell booth at Web Summit Qatar 2024, visitors had a chance to get up close to a Shell Eco-marathon vehicle and learn more about the programme. Shell Eco-marathon Qatar is set to take place in the first quarter of 2025 at the Lusail International Circuit.