Monday, 21 November 2011 13:13
November 21, 2011
Students from Boise State University successfully developed a car that traveled more than 150 miles per hour, though its power source is rather unconventional.
Members from Greenspeed, an environmental sustainability club at the university, successfully engineered a vehicle capable of sustaining significantly higher speeds than similarly designed cars, according to a report from EarthTechling.
They set a new land speed record for vegetable oil-powered vehicles, according to the news provider, as their green car was clocked traveling 155 miles per hour along a dry lakebed in the Mojave Desert. The vehicle relied only on cottonseed and sunflower oils as energy, and its development underscores the advances made within the field over the past decade.
TG Daily reports the team of students' vegetable oil-powered vehicle actually set two records this month. On November 12, the vehicle traveled 139 miles per hour; the following day, it hit 155 miles per hour.
"They set a goal that they knew would be hard to achieve and they stayed with," Boise State mechanical engineering professor John Gardner asserted. "It's really a testament to their perseverance and their engineering skill. I’m really pleased to see them have such success."
Boise State University News reports the students engineered a 1998 S-10 pickup truck to run only on vegetable oil. Greenspeed student founder Dave Schenker drove the car during its record-breaking run, asserting the students had worked for more than a year to tweak the vehicle's engine.
"Nobody has pushed a vegetable oil vehicle like we have," Schenker said. "It was an experiment. A very successful experiment."
The students spent months fundraising and working with engineering professors, according to Boise State News. In total, the team said it spent more than $125,000 to completely overhaul the pickup truck. Invigorated by their newly achieved place in the record books, the students have an even more ambitious goal.
They are endeavoring to develop a truck that can break the current land speed record for petroleum-fueled trucks in their division. To accomplish that goal, they will have to engineer the vehicle to travel faster than 215 miles per hour. They have the rest of the academic year to devote to research and development, as the competition will be held next summer.
"We've learned a lot and are pretty confident we can pull it off," Schenker affirmed. "The hard part was getting a vehicle running. Now it's all about refinement."
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