Complex Made Simple

Alternative fuel-powered cars race at MEPEC 2015 supported by Oil and Gas News

MEPEC provides students and potential employees the opportunity to network and mingle in an exciting environment.

As part of the event’s commitment to fostering the participation of the youth in the process engineering sector, the third edition of the Middle East Process Engineering Conference (MEPEC) will host the first ever Middle East regional Chem-E-Car Competiton in Bahrain.

Four Middle East universities will be competing to build cars using only chemical components at the first Middle East Regional Chem-E-Car Competition, “powered” by Oil and Gas News (OGN), which takes place from September 15 to 17, alongside MEPEC in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Organised by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and sponsored by Saudi Aramco, the competition engages undergraduate students in designing and constructing a car powered by a chemical energy source that will safely carry a specified load over a given distance and stop, says AIChE in a release.

One of the main objectives of the MEPEC organising committee is to foster the participation of the youth in the process engineering sector. ChemME, the student initiative at MEPEC, will aim to provide an engaging, enriching and enlightening experience for graduates and undergraduates in the region.

Bette Lawler, AIChE chief operations officer says: “The opportunity to run a regional version of our Chem-E-Car Competition, alongside MEPEC 2015 received high praise and an incredible level of interest from not only a number of committed universities but also by many important industry stakeholders.”

The Chem-E-Car Competition, which began in 1999, is a fun and practical way for students to apply their knowledge of chemical engineering principles while helping build leadership skills, a keen emphasis on process safety and interest and expertise in alternative fuels. With a growing interest in real-world applications of alternative fuels worldwide, it’s more important than ever for college students to learn about chemical reactions that can move vehicles.

Dr Basim Abussaud, Assistant Professor, KFUPM and Student Programme Advisor of MEPEC 2015 says: “The Chem-E-Car Competition, is the perfect platform for students to work as a team and come up with a solution with an end goal. KFUPM is a student chapter of AIChE and we look forward to the competition every year in the US. Bringing it to the Middle East has the students thoroughly excited to compete.”

Sameer Saleh, Publishing Director of OGN says “As the leading energy industry news weekly which has been promoting the sector across the Middle East for over 30 years, we are excited by the innovative approach of MEPEC to encourage engineering students to be part of the regions premiere process engineering event. This initiative must be applauded for encouraging the region’s next generation of process engineers to innovate and add intellectual value to the growth of process engineering sector in the region”

In the competition, students create load-carrying cars using a variety of materials and fueling methods. The designs showcase the teams’ creativity, with cars powered by Zinc air batteries, hydrogen fuel and even beef liver. The student engineers do not know the size and weight of the load their car has to carry or the distance it must travel until the competition begins. The students then scramble to calculate how to get their car as close to the distance goal as possible.

Teams must find a method that is flexible enough to fit a range of payloads and distances, and reliable enough so it doesn’t fail with real world variables (temperature, humidity, track roughness, changes in elevation, etc.). Winners in this competition aren’t determined by whether their car is faster or more powerful, but how accurate their chemical reaction to stop their vehicle is.

MEPEC provides students and potential employees the opportunity to network and mingle in an exciting environment. Through participation in the competition, teams will also gain access to MEPEC’s Student Conference Programme – ChemME, which includes tailored-made workshops, debates and networking sessions.