BEAUMONT — Students at Lamar University and Lamar Institute of Technology have teamed up again to build an eco-friendly car.

The welding department at the LIT worked alongside Lamar senior mechanical engineering students to build the energy-efficient car.

The car will be entered into the Shell Eco-Marathon, a worldwide competition held in Sonoma, California.

The welding of the frame involves metals that are much smaller and thinner than usual.

The rules of the 100 team competition will dictate that the car be able to travel at 15 miles per hour for 30 minutes while being run off a battery.

From Lamar University...

Lamar Institute of Technology’s Welding Department is assisting Lamar University’s senior Mechanical Engineering students in the construction of an energy-efficient car to enter a worldwide competition in Sonoma, CA.

LIT’s job is to weld the frame of the vehicle, said LIT Welding Technology Program Director John McKeehan, who is leading the project for LIT. History of the partnership between the two schools spans 11 years, according to Dr. Jenny Zhou, Lamar University Mechanical Engineering Professor and faculty project director.

Lamar University enlisted help from LIT since LU mechanical engineering students are not equipped to weld. “This is a big task (for engineering students). McKeehan said. “Most don’t know how to weld. To take this kind of project to a fabrication shop would cost them thousands of dollars.”

“Our students benefit from this type of experience because it’s different from what they normally do.” McKeehan explained that the metal pipe that’s welded is much smaller and thinner than what students encounter in class. It presents new and challenging opportunities for LIT students.

He said the vehicle must be “super-efficient, lighter and more aerodynamic, and the engine is required to travel at 15mph for 30 minutes off a battery.” McKeehan likened it to a “go-cart.”

For LU students this is the most difficult project they will undertake, since, in eight months’ time, they apply what they have learned to plan the design, analysis, optimization and manufacture of the vehicle, and finally compete against 100 teams worldwide, Zhou said.

The Shell Eco-Marathon provides a forum so students can apply difficult concepts to a project and produce new ideas and innovations toward green energy, she said.

Lamar University has won twice previously—both second place—in the Fuel Cell and Diesel categories, Zhou said.