in 1999, the Student Chapters Committee of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers initiated a national competition amongst it students members. The goal was to build a chemically-powered vehicle to carry a weight a certain distance, though the competitors would not know the weight or the distance until just before the competition. This competition is known as the "Chem-E-Car Competition".
Student teams, through their on-campus AIChE student chapters, compete in regional competitions to qualify for the national competition. The student team from Tennessee Tech won this Chem-E-Car national competition in 2005 (after finishing second in 2004). Their national record was in place until the 2008 Competition in Philadelphia. The student team from Tennessee Tech also were awarded the "Best use of a Biological Reaction to Power a Car" by the Society of Biological Engineers in 2008 during the Chem-E-Car competition.