With its optimised, embedded conversion engine to drive vegetable oil-powered car engines, Team Acidrain from National University of Ireland (NUI), Maynooth came second in the world’s largest student technology competition, the Microsoft Imagine Cup.
As the hopefuls were whittled down from the initial 200,000 entrants from over 100 countries to the 124 teams that arrived in Paris last Thursday, NUI Maynooth’s Team Acidrain made it through to the nail-biting final on Saturday evening, along with six others in the embedded development category.
Today, after several rounds of presentations to Imagine Cup judges, Ireland beat China, Korea, Poland and Ukraine to achieve second place. However portents were good when the team made it into the final six with the judge exclaiming “You better know this one” by way of introduction, an indication of the buzz surrounding the optimised bio-fuel conversion engine.
Speaking from Paris straight after the win, team captain Brian Byrne said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with this result. We’ve put in a lot of hard work and effort in preparing for the Microsoft Imagine Cup and to make it to the final six teams was a fantastic achievement and to have come second is even better.
“The experience of showcasing our fuel conversion kit to so many interested and influential people creates exciting opportunities for the project.
“We want to thank Microsoft for giving us this chance to participate in this amazing competition and for all the support we have received from our sponsors and from the academic staff at NUI Maynooth. All that’s left for us to do now is to drive back home in our sunflower oil-powered car!!”
Paul Rellis, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, called Team Acidrain “great ambassadors for Ireland and for Microsoft”.
The only problem now is making it back to Ireland without the car getting covered in the poop from excitable pigeons – the only drawback of a car powered by sunflower oil.
By Marie Boran
Pictured:Karl O’Dwyer, Brian Byrne and Aodhan Coffey of the victorious Team Acidrain