Dutch team looks to solar desert rally in Morocco

Dutch team looks to solar desert rally in Morocco

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A team of students from Twente University in the Netherlands is being sponsored by Leybold for the latest solar car challenge.
By Nick Flaherty

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After the Australian “Bridgestone World Solar Challenge” was cancelled for this year as a result of Covid-19, an alternative route was found through the desert and along the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

The Dutch racing team of Solar Team Twente is still optimistic that they will be able to win the World Championship for Solar Cars, following a strong tradition in the event.

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The Challenger solar car class in the last competition in 2019 was won by the Agoria team from Belgium, with their Bluepoint design travelling 3020km in five days. The Cruiser class was won by Solar Team Eindhoven from the Netherlands. Team Sonnenwagen Aachen from Germany also took two awards.

On 23 October this year, the starting signal for the international student teams will be given in the port city of Agadir. The 2500km route will be ridden in five daily stages. In addition to the sporting competition, the event serves not least the worldwide networking of young scientists as well as the sustainable promotion of innovation and research. “In times of climate change, we see a responsibility in concretely promoting the efficient use of renewable energy potentials and thus contributing to the reduction of air pollution,” said Ian Dorman, General Manager of Leybold EMEA North East which is sponsoring the team.

The 19 students of the Solar Team Twente had interrupted their studies for a year and a half to develop and build a competitive solar car. Leybold’s sponsorship with the SOGEVAC 16 D vacuum pump allows the team to continue processing carbon and epoxy by means of vacuum infusion and lamination either in-house, or when required locally at the race site, due to the pumps compact and portable design.

“This has also been achieved with the help of the support of our sponsors, so we feel well equipped and motivated to compete for the title in Morocco,” said Structural Designer Stijn Louws.

Dutch teams have been successful in past world championships for solar cars and a team from the University of Gronigen, backed by Philips, is designing the second generation of its Green Lightning vehicle as ‘Top Dutch Solar Racing’ in the Challenge class. Other team from Vattenfall, Aachen and Agoria, Chalmers in Sweden and a local team from Rabat in Morocco are also competing in the category. So far the only group in the Cruiser class is Solaride Estonia.

Leybold is sponsoring the Twente team as vacuum systems are used for the production of solar modules and lithium-ion batteries

“It is my pleasure to support Solar Team Twente, we see the enormous potential of electromobility and are also convinced that we can push the success of the team with our contribution,” said Sales Engineer of Leybold Netherlands, Andries Verstraeten.

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