Pravega, India

Team Pravega win the Circular Economy Award at the 2020 Asia Off-Tracks for their creative and innovative prototype vehicle made from bamboo and powered by electric energy.

About the Circular Economy Award

Circular economy refers to the continual use of resources and eliminating waste. This award recognises teams who employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling, while minimizing the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions. The judges are most interested in how their submission relates to the Shell Eco-marathon competition and the potential it has for “real world” application.

What they achieved

After much discussion and consideration of the Circular Economy Award brief, the team determined that bamboo would be an excellent, and viable, resource for the vehicle’s chassis and body.

Bamboo provides natural strength to withstand static loads, so the team hypothesized that it could also be a suitable alternative for situations involving dynamic loads. After meticulous research and testing, the team found that the solid bamboo species stocksii, which was coincidentally found in abundance in South India, would provide optimal support as a chassis material. The team’s strategic decision to use bamboo, combined with the strong execution of their idea, ultimately led them to win the award.

“We have found that bamboo has immense potential and can act as an alternative to conventional materials. This helped us to develop the first ever vehicle prototype in the world completely made of bamboo and powered by electrical energy, thus producing the first ever 100% completely eco-friendly vehicle.”

What challenges were faced along the way?

The biggest hurdle the team had to overcome on the road to victory was balancing the essential factors for competition success, such as maximising fuel efficiency through reduced weight and aerodynamic drag, with the need to maintain vehicular body strength for driver protection. Developing a suitable composite of bamboo and glass fibre proved challenging. However, through Team Pravega’s dedication and perseverance in trialling, testing, and inspecting various combinations, the team found a composite that fit the bill.

What motivates this team to succeed?

In addition to their commitment to thorough planning and research, a strong team dynamic and shared work ethic was integral to the overall success of Team Pravega. Although winning the Circular Economy prize was gratifying, team members said it was not their sole motivation, they were driven by incentives for "improvement of thought”, “team satisfaction”, and the reward for “effort and concentration.” In the end, the team was able to accomplish all these goals.

Why the judges believed they deserve to win?

“The winners impressed the judges with a novel concept of using bamboo which is very eco-friendly in constructing their vehicle. The team took this concept to a new level by the degree in which they actively engaged and attracted interests from car manufacturers, and the “bamboo strength” had even been certified by local regulatory bodies. An exemplary and creative effort with great attention to detail in the application of circular economy model!”

Lead Judge: Pandu Ranga Chirala, Altair

Learn more about the winning team

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