UBD Shell Eco-Marathon Team Launches Prototype Vehicle for International Competition

Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) announced its participation in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia-Pacific and the Middle East 2024 at the launching ceremony of this year’s prototype vehicle at the UBD Pro Chancellor Arts Centre on 13 May 2024.

At the ceremony, the Guest of Honour Dr Hazri Haji Kifle, Vice Chancellor of UBD unveiled the vehicle named “Mekar” in the presence of this year’s sponsors including representatives from Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP), Brunei Shell Marketing (BSM), Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN), Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, and Shell Exploration Production Brunei B.V as well as UBD principal officers, academics, students and parents. The ceremony also included a welcoming speech by the UBD Shell Eco-marathon team leader, Awg Hifdzur Azmin Haji Mohd Zain and presentation of tokens of appreciation and certificates.

The Shell Eco-marathon is a unique competition that challenges students to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient prototype vehicle. Student-led teams take their innovations to the track to see who goes furthest on the least amount of energy or fuel which supports supreme energy efficiency. Organised by regions, the Shell Eco-marathon Asia-Pacific and the Middle East 2024 which will take place at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, Lombok, Indonesia from 2nd to 6th July 2024, will mark UBD’s ninth year in the competition.

In line with Brunei Darussalam Vision 2035 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), this competition provides the team with opportunities to delve into sustainability research by developing an aerodynamic shell for the vehicle as well as reducing the weight in order to enhance the efficiency, thus requiring less energy for its motion.

UBD’s previous participation in 2015 had a breakthrough by achieving 3rd Place in the Prototype Hydrogen Fuel Cell Category. In 2023, UBD re-joined the competition after a COVID-19 pandemic hiatus in the Prototype Battery Electric Category, managing to achieve 103km/kWh, receiving recognition across the media.

This year, UBD will be represented by the UBD Shell Eco-marathon Organisation (UBD SEMO) Team “Belia Tabah”, consisting of  eight students from the Faculty of Integrated Technologies (FIT), UBD and this is the first UBD SEMO team with graduate student members (four Masters students and one PhD student). The team chose the name “Mekar” (“blossom” in Malay language), a symbolic representation that encapsulates the flourishing of UBD’s energy efficiency accomplishments to date, from “seed to fruit” through the culmination of knowledge and efforts.

UBD SEMO also introduced four sponsorship tiers this year namely: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze categories. The commitment from the sponsors has not only provided the financial backing but also offers invaluable industry expertise and resources that has helped in enhancing the team’s performance and technological capabilities by instilling the values of sustainability and environmental consciousness, and ensuring the continuous development of Bruneian youths in the technical and engineering fields. AirCat Forwarding Sdn Bhd has also been integral in providing logistical advice and support.

With the support, the team has been able to effectively decrease the total weight of the vehicle by 70% compared to its predecessor, enhancing its efficiency and manoeuvrability during competitions. With 90% of the vehicle’s body made from carbon fibre reinforced polymer, alongside the integration of state-of-the-art components like an upgraded motor, the team aims to boost both performance and effectiveness. These strides underscore not only the team’s commitment to innovation but also propelling the boundaries of sustainable innovation within the competition realm.

UBD SEMO looks forward to making a significant impact at the Shell Eco-marathon Asia-Pacific and the Middle East 2024 as well as growth with partners in the future.

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