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Monday, 24 October 2011

The World Solar Challenge, Go!

The start of the 2011 World Solar Challenge, the World Championship Of Solar Car, was given on Sunday, October 16. Participants had to cross Australia from the north to the south, which was more than3000 km from Darwin to Adelaide. Among the participants was a Belgian car: the Umica and a Taiwanese car: Appollo VI that stood out.

The Taiwanese Participation

It was a team from a university supported by Taiwan's AU Optronics company that could mold solar cells into a solar car, named Apollo VI!
The way this car works is truly fantastic as the solar energy is captured by the performing monocrystalline cells (23%) "Back contact”, which covers an area of ​​6 square meters. 
The ultimately flat craft carries a single passenger (the driver) at a speed of 80 km/h with a possible peak of 120 km/h! For 130 pounds, the car has a length of 4.70 meters and a width of 1.80 meters and a height of 1.10 meters.
The aim of the team of 20 students from the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences is to visit Australia to participate in the louse WSC famous race, the World Solar Challenge, with about forty other competitors! Great challenge in perspective...

The Belguim Participation

Organized for the first time in 1987, the World Solar Challenge was a biennial competition through which young engineers envisioned the future of mobility. Vice-world champion in 2007 but forced to retire in 2009 after a collision, the Umicore Solar Team returns in 2011 with big ambitions. Competition was fierce; including students from Stanford, but the Belgian team could count on the participation of Vanina Ickx.
For professional drivers, the World Solar Challenge was truly a challenge with solar vehicles behaving so strangely different (no accelerator pedal, etc.). Three other drivers made it to the team: Jeroen Moens (designer of the suspension and brakes), Boudewijn Sarens (designer of solar panels and electronics) and Claes Brecht (who formerly dealt Umicore Marketing).

In 2009, the winners had fallen at an average speed of 100 km/h, against 90 km/h in 2007 and this year, due to an unpredictable weather announced during the first part of the course, cars speed tended toward the average speed of 2007. 
That said, The Umicar Imagine car was capable of giving a peak speed of 120 km/h.

How It went

Thirty-seven teams from twenty different countries have developed vehicles that will cross the finish line using only the sun's energy. This technology has evolved since 1987 which was the date when the first World Solar Challenge race took place. As along with improving the efficiency of photovoltaic cells (most silicon-based this year) and batteries, the average speed of the winner has risen up from 67 to 95 km/h over this year.

During the first stage, only 25 teams managed to cross the checkpoints in time. After twenty-nine hours and forty-five minutes was the team from the University of Tokai, Japan, who won for the second year in a row. Equipped with silicon solar cells with a yield of 22%, the three-wheeled carbon shelled vehicle had traveled the route at an average speed of about 100 km/h.

Basma - Green Energy International Correspondent - 24/10/11

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