La. Tech gets another "First Ever" - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

La. Tech gets another "First Ever"

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RUSTON, La., (KNOE 8 News) – Louisiana Tech University's College of Engineering and Science announces that CenterPoint Energy will serve as the first-ever title sponsor of the award-winning and record-setting Eco-marathon team.

"We are extremely proud to be this year's title sponsor of the Louisiana Tech team," said Eric Sullivan, division senior vice president of CenterPoint Energy Services. "The Eco-marathon challenges students to enter vehicles that are fuel efficient and better for the environment. Whether it's powered by gasoline, natural gas, diesel or electricity, we're excited to see what this innovative, talented team comes up with this year and in future Eco-marathons."

The student-led team from Louisiana Tech will join more than 1,000 innovative high school and university students from across North America at the seventh annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas, April 5-7th in Houston, Texas. The event challenges students to build, design and compete with their high-mileage vehicles in competitions held annually in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

CenterPoint Energy's gift will enable Louisiana Tech's Eco-marathon team to put some of their best ideas to the test, giving them an even bigger edge in the competition.

"We are so grateful to CenterPoint Energy for helping us in this way," said Dr. Heath Tims, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and one of the faculty advisers for the Louisiana Tech team.  "This type of funding is huge for this volunteer team."

In addition to his role with the Louisiana Tech team, Tims also serves on the Eco-marathon event's national steering committee.

During the Eco-marathon competition, student teams and their fuel-efficient vehicles navigate a course in the streets of downtown Houston.  In 2011, Louisiana Tech's Urban Concept vehicle, "Roadster," set a new U.S. record of 646.7 mpg.  The team also won first place for overall design and safety that year.  Last year, the team won awards for design, most miles in the diesel category, and team spirit.

Event organizers introduced a new prize category for this year's competition, called the "Global Energy Challenge: A Look to the Future."  The goal is to encourage the world's next generation of engineers and scientists to consider new, sustainable ways to meet the rising demand for energy.  Cash prizes will also be awarded for Eco Design, Safety, Technical Innovation and Best Team Spirit.

The Louisiana Tech students, who come from many different academic degree programs, participate in the project as volunteers and do not get class credit.  They design, build, paint and test the cars on their own time, usually in the evenings, after class and on weekends, and also assist with fundraising.

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