Tigergen infographic wins $5,000 prize
For the third consecutive year, members of Tigergen, MU Engineering’s hydrogen car team, competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon in Houston the first weekend of April. Accustomed to competing in what is becoming an annual racing tradition, the team also prepares for the subsequent all-nighters and vehicle inspections with crossed fingers.
When event organizers introduced a new task for this year’s competition — designing an infographic illustrating the world’s growing population and the impact of renewable energy over the next few decades — one of the team’s newest members volunteered to prepare MU’s entry. His design netted the team the competition’s top prize, accompanied by a $5,000 check.
Electrical engineering freshman Naadaa Zakiyyan said he was extremely proud his infographic took top honors. Zakiyyan said team president Sean Conway announced the design challenge at a team meeting about a month before the competition.
“I really love graphic design,” he said. “When Marcus [Friedrich], the project manager, and Sean introduced the infographic challenge, I asked them more about it. They gave me the links to the competition, and I pretty much took it from there.”
Zakiyyan’s design focused on the state of the world’s population and renewable resources in the year 2050. The research and design took about a month to put together and was submitted about a week before the competition.
“The second day down there, a representative from Shell went around and talked to the universities that entered the contest,” Zakiyyan said.
He and Conway accepted the $5,000 first prize at the awards ceremony on the final day of competition, which also happened to be Zakiyyan’s 19th birthday.
“I was really surprised that we won because everyone had awesome infographics,” Conway said. “I was really proud of what Naadaa made.”
This year’s race was the second for Tigergen III. The car placed third in its category with two other schools. Conway optimistically said the results were a step up from the previous year when the car didn’t finish any of its qualifying runs, which involve a minimum 10 laps around the course. This year the team was able to complete two qualifying runs on the final day of competition.
“We came to the conclusion that the fuel cells weren’t getting enough air flow, so we drilled holes in the back of the car,” Conway said.
The team reached an average fuel efficiency of 8.8 miles per kilowatt-hour, the equivalency of about 299 miles per gallon.
As always, the team is looking forward.
“Since we’ve been back, we’ve had long talks about the future of the team,” Conway said.
Each Tigergen iteration typically lasts two years. The second year, a new car is constructed using a combination of new parts and parts from the previous year’s vehicle. But with Tigergen III, Conway said the team still has a lot of ideas for ways to improve the car.
“None of us really feel done with this car,” Conway said about Tigergen III. He said the team plans to make “substantial re-modifications” to the car by looking at ways to make the body lighter.
Along with a new set of officers, Conway said the team is also looking into a new player in its lineup — an electric battery car, tentatively titled the “Batt-Cat” — which will also will compete at the Shell Eco-Marathon in a different category.
“By the time fall rolls around, we’ll have plenty of work for new and returning members,” Conway said.