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UCR Engineering Students to Compete in 2000 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge May 13-20

UCR Engineering Students to Compete in 2000 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge May 13-20

(May 5, 2000)

A team of eight engineering students at the University of California, Riverside will compete May 13-20 in the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge 2000, a North American collegiate competition to convert gasoline-powered pickups to run on a cleaner burning ethanol-gasoline blend. The contest will be held at various locations in Canada.

UCR is the only California university and one of 16 universities in the U.S. and Canada selected to participate in the competition. During the contest, each team will put its vehicle - converted to run on E-85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline - through a battery of tests to measure emissions, fuel economy, acceleration, cold-start ability and appearance. They will also be judged on the basis of a technical design report and oral presentation of their work.

Results of the competition will be announced on Saturday, May 20.

Additional Background: This is the third year UCR engineering students have competed in the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge. In 1999, the team placed seventh and in 1998 finished fourth. For this year's competition, the team is refining the same Chevrolet Silverado pickup used in last year's competition.

Since December, the students on the UCR team have been working at the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) to improve the truck's performance. They have been concentrating on designing and fabricating the cold-start system, lowering emissions, improving acceleration and fuel economy, and refining their written technical report. "The car is functioning great in every category," said Kent Johnson, a UCR engineer advising Team CE-CERT. The team captain is Gary Nichols, a senior mechanical engineering major.

The UCR truck was shipped to the competition site early this week. Team members will leave for the competition on Thursday, May 11.

As an alternative fuel, E-85 produces lower tailpipe emissions than gasoline - as much as 30 percent less carbon monoxide and 12 percent less volatile organic compounds, both principal contributors to smog. Ethanol is made from domestic agricultural crops, including corn.

The U.S. Department of Energy, Natural Resources Canada, General Motors Corporation and GM Canada are among the sponsors for the 2000 competition. Among the other universities competing are the University of Texas, Austin, University of Alberta, University of Kansas and Idaho State University.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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