The aims of the IMechE Greenpower initiative is to promote engineering
and technology as exciting careers, to those aged 9-21. The concept is
for teams of secondary school pupils, their parents and teachers to
design, build, develop and race highly efficient "green" electric
racing cars. The pupils are exposed to many facets of engineering and
other disciplines in doing this.
Beam Ltd has been involved with the local Chipping Sodbury school since
2006 in helping to develop a highly efficient, electric racing vehicle.
Our main endeavour has been to promote engineering, especially
electronics and software engineering, to the schools pupils by showing
them good engineering principles and getting them involved as much as
possible in the research, design and development of a real product. In
so doing we have also learnt a lot more about efficient low energy
The 2009 developed car, Rotary Racer 8, is the Greenpower national
champion 2009. It achieved 120 miles in 4 hours using 4 car batteries
as a power source. Its inequivalent petrol consumption would have been
approximately: 2132 MPG
Some of the work we have been involved in includes:
One of the
most difficult part of this has been getting the pupils involved as
much as possible. However, in conjunction with the parents and
teachers at the school I think the team has done well at this. The
pupils have given a number of presentations at different events and
their knowledge and maturity has shone through. As well as all of this
the car the team developed in 2009 won three races and was second in
another and became the national Greenpower champions by winning at the
national final at Goodwood race circuit.
- Production and support of a development website/wiki that hosts information and that the pupils can contribute to. Greenpower Website This is written in PHP.
into science and maths behind the cars performance. We have tried
to present this at a level to suit secondary school pupils abilities to
show them how science, maths and enginnering are closely linked.
Some info on this is at: GreenpowerScience
- Development of a web based Greenpower car simulator that allows
pupils to investigate and understand the issues with improving the
performance of the car. This is based on the Greenpower science work we
have done with them and is written in Python. GreenSim
of a simple to use, web based, software virtual wind
tunnel (VWT) to allow pupils to investigate the aerodynamic efficiency
of their car. We host this on a 12 CPU Linux parallel compute engine.
More info at: GreenVWT This uses OpenFOAM as the CFD platform.
- Helped the team to design and develop a simple computer for data logging and controling the cars power output.
The design was based on the small PIC processor systems the school was
using for teaching so that the pupils could program it relatively
easily. The design mainly uses through whole components and was large
enough so that the pupils could easily make the boards. They had a hand
in the PCB design, the building, the testing and some of the
- Helped with the design and development of an efficient, high power MOSFET motor
speed controller (> 97% at 30 Amps). Again this was designed to be simple and allow the
pupils to have a large hand in making it. The pupils even made the PCB
in the school etch tanks.
- Helped with the design
and development a Zigbee based radio telemetry system for the car
together with display software. This allows the data logs from the car
to be viewed during the race and car parameters updated.