IITB Central Library 2.0 Service

From IIT-B with love: Zero-fuel

Posted on: April 26, 2011

By DNA
Param, a unique vehicle built by IIT-Bombay students, may well turn out to be India’s answer to soaring petrol prices, depleting energy resources, and obesity.

It does not run on petrol or diesel, but on human energy, at speeds of 50-60 kmph. The IIT team will showcase the vehicle at an international competition for human-powered vehicles at Montana State University, organised by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

It looks like a tricycle, with a single low seat. The driver has to sit in a recumbent position and pedal with force. The low angle of the seat reduces the drag and makes it comfortable for the driver to ride continuously for two hours without breaking into a sweat. “We wanted to create a sustainable and practical transportation alternative for everyday use. People can use it for commuting short distances like nearby work places or within a big campus. Since it involves pedalling, it also has plenty of health benefits,” said Rohit Singwal, a third-year mechanical engineering student at IIT-B. And while it may look delicate, the vehicle can support a person weighing 100kgs. The students have been working on the vehicle’s design for nearly nine months. Practically everyday, the students add some new feature to the vehicle to improve its speed and endurance.

The team said building the prototype and the final design was difficult owing to lack of resources. Since the material was not available in India, it had to be imported from the US. “Despite these limitations, our students have met international standards and have done a good job. The best speed achieved at such a competition has been 90-95kmph. So, coming first is not our criterion at the moment. The world should appreciate our team’s innovative design,” said C Amarnath, IIT-B professor, and project adviser.

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