AtenECO to compete in Shell Eco-Marathon

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THE AtenECO is set to become the Ateneo’s first team to compete at the annual Shell Eco-Marathon Competition with the launch of eco-friendly car ATNO 1 on January 26.

The Shell Eco-Marathon is an international competition where students are invited to create their own, energy-efficient vehicles and compete for the “highest fuel efficiency possible.”

A test run of all local entries of the Philippines will be held at the Clark International Speedway on February 3-5 while the Asia-wide competition will be held in Singapore on March 16-19.

AtenECO will be competing under the “Urban Concept” and “Electric Utility” categories, which focus on practicality and use of hydrogen cells or lithium-based batteries, respectively. The team is composed of Team Leader Ramona Datu (5 BS CoE), Deputy Team Leader Onur Salih (3 BS ECE), car driver Kyle Siongco (3 BS CoE), Anton Rabe (3 BS ECE), JM Reguyal (3 BS ECE), Louie Mojica (3 BS ECE), Odilon Gabriel Aquino (3 BS ECE), and Faculty Advisor and Assistant Instructor Kevin Vicerra.

Overcoming hurdles

AtenECO is an interdisciplinary effort, with students from both computer and electronics engineering. However, the team faced difficulties due to a lack of mechanical engineering know-how.

“Since we don’t have any mechanical engineers in our school, we had to research a lot about making the [mechanical] side,” said Reguyal.

According to Reguyal, the team made up for this by looking at past designs.

Kasi other schools have been joining this competition [for five years]. Since it’s our first time, it [was] hard to make an original design, so we just took ideas from their designs and made it our own,” he said.

The team also enlisted help from more knowledgeable professionals.

“We outsourced help. We’ve got consultants and other people who would really help us along the way,” said Datu. “So ‘yung mga mechanical stuff, iyong mga technicians like [Department Technician] Mang Sonny [Toledo], they’re there to help us so everything that they already know, parang tinuruan na lang kami, even if medyo from scratch ‘yung dating (We were taught everything from scratch).”

Expectations

As the competition draws near, Datu said that she is feeling the pressure on the team. As a lot of teams from all over the Philippines, including those from top universities such as the University of the Philippines and De La Salle University, will be among the roster of competitors, Datu says although she is scared, she intends to treat it as a learning experience.

Moreover, Vicerra said that he is excited to see their work put into action.

“We’re not sure what to expect. We don’t know if we’ll be competitive but hopefully we are. [We are] excited because we’ve been working on this for more than half a year. It’s really stressful so excited kaming makita iyong final product na,” he said.

Eco-friendly development

With projects like the Shell Eco-Marathon, AtenECO is confident that eco-friendly cars will be more widespread in the future.

“Electric cars are becoming more prevalent [now] compared to the last decade since it’s becoming more affordable for people [with], for example, TESLA. I think it’s important now to focus on electric cars compared to gasoline cars,” said Reguyal.

“I think rin, technological-wise, ‘yung technology na yun mabilis din ‘yung [development] niyadahil nga sobrang bilis ng climate change, energy efficiency is also connected to being eco-friendly… If we can make energy efficient cars, we’re also helping the environment,” added Datu.

Vicerra said that developing eco-friendly technologies is a thrust of the Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering Department and that it is pursuing other sustainability-oriented projects. Previously, there have been theses involving alternative energy sources such as solar panels and waterfalls.

“Hopefully in the future may madevelop na something para sa car na makakatulong sa mga ganung projects (Hopefully in the future, there will be developments for cars that will help in sustainability-related projects),” said Vicerra.

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