Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Energy Challenge is meant to increase interest in science and engineering.

Rules required the students to make functional snowboards made up of at least 80 percent paper fiber. The teams designed and engineered their snowboards using paper materials such as chemical wood fiber, corrugated paperboard and linerboard. Commonly used paper chemicals were allowed in the finishing and bonding of the board.

Participating teams include Georgia Institute of Technology, Lamar University, Miami University (Ohio), Mississippi State University, North Carolina State, Pasadena City College, Savannah College of Art and Design, Spartan School of Aeronautics (Tulsa, Okla.), Syracuse University & the State University of New York — College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Temple University, University of Central Florida, University of Colorado- Denver and the University of Maine.

The format for the race will be a slalom course, dual race and each team will receive three heats. To be the overall winner of Energy Challenge, a team needs to do more than post the best time. It also will have to score high on other criteria such as written reports, performance, gross weight, materials composition, board volume, compressive strength, aesthetics and novelty of design.

This will be the sixth annual Energy Challenge. Previous competitions have featured students constructing thermal-insulated packages to protect a raw egg when dropped 20 feet onto a hard surface; racing paper kayaks; windsurfing; navigating a paper sail made from 100 pounds of wood chips, and in 2003, hang gliding with paper wings on the Outer Banks of North Carolina near Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Energy Challenge directly supports DOE’s Agenda 2020 — a program to enhance the economic competitiveness of the U.S. forest products industry and to help the pulp and paper industry reach the vision of more energy efficient manufacturing processes in the year 2020.