Solar Team Twente has just unveiled the design for their new car. In October, the fully ecological vehicle, constructed by young professionals from the University of Twente (the Netherlands), will take part in World Solar Challenge in Australia. Works on the car were supported by the Nowy Styl Group’s ROHDE & GRAHL company which provided the inventors with comfortable and inspiring workplace.
It’s been a decade since a group of young construction and green energy enthusiasts from the Univeristy of Twente teamed up to build a super ecological car called “RED”. The vehicle powered with solar cells was bound to appear at the start of World Solar Challenge – famous race taking part mostly on vast desert lands of Australia. However uncomplicated the task seems – covering the distance of 3000 km from north to south of the country in the shortest time – the competition is everything but an easy ride. Every two years dozens of brilliant brains head for Australia to face the challenge, and members of Solar Team are regular participants in the venture.
Their innovative concept has been constantly upgraded since 2009, reducing the surface area of solar cells from 6 to less than 2.6 m2 in the latest model. This allowed for gradual trimming of the dimensions, improving aerodynamics of the construction at the same time. “The new solar car RED D will be the smallest in the history of Solar Team Twente. That’s because we are choosing a solar panel made from Gallium-Arsenide (GaAs) instead of silicium”, explains Sybren Wubs, technical manager at Solar Team Twente. “This type of solar cell is currently the most efficient, and therefore very suitable for our solar car”.
Apart from not resting on the laurels to constantly improve the car, Solar Team Twente focuses on developing new aspects of the enterprise, as well. The two priorities are education and finding a solution to stop brain drain. Regarding the former mission, the team launched a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) explaining how to build a solar car. Taking Red One – the 2015 model – as the exemplary construction, young inventors will be the first to open up one of their designs and expose all of the technological aspects of the car to the outside world. The course ‘How to build a solar car’ will be available starting this summer on the platform FutureLearn.
The new model of Solar Team's car, due to take part in October race in Australia, has been equipped with new type of solar cells which enabled to reduce its dimensions (photo by Martina Ketelaar)
As far as the latter is concerned, the team will act as a link between students or graduates and businesses, which are eagerly seeking talented employees. In Twente, local talents frequently move out of the region after graduation, because so far it has been extremely difficult to attract them to local undertakings. Solar Team aims at helping with this challenge, especially on behalf of its supporting partners.
One of them is ROHDE & GRAHL, a company belonging to Nowy Styl Group, highly advanced at delivering ergonomic and sustainable workplace solutions. It has been patronizing the team from Twente for 4 years now. “We believe it is very important to support young professionals who are developing a total solar-driven car with the best business partners and stand out for their innovations in aerodynamics and face challenges within technical field. The team stands for development in sustainability and, this year especially, also works on how to share their knowledge”, says Daniëlle Pieket-Weeserik, Marketing and Communication Manager at ROHDE & GRAHL. “Our contribution to the team is to make sure they have a healthy, sustainable and inspiring workplace where they can work on the total project and make sure the team is ready for the big race in October”, she explains.