South Dakota students win $10K for fuel-efficient invention

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology have won two awards totaling $10,000 in prize money for an invention they say may improve vehicle fuel efficiency by up to 10%.

The Rapid City Journal reports that sophomores Mark Rotert and John Parker Chandler IV won a combined $5,000 Friday after pitching their vortex generator, TwisTech, in the governor's Giant Vision competition. They also won another $5,000 prize from the college earlier this month for the invention to reduce drag on vehicles.

The students used a 3D printer to manufacture prototypes of the pocket-sized device. They say they've tested it on their personal cars, and used simulation software to test a digital model.

They say the invention yielded a 10% improvement in fuel consumption on sedan-style cars and a 7% improvement on semi-trucks.

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