“It is an innovative way for you to capture an energy that is relatively new and manage enough efficiency that you can take part in a competition, move a boat. It is surprising”
In addition to putting in practice the knowledge acquired at university, participants must solve the problems that arise during the contest. In the Solar Challenge, the ability to think of new solutions and energy efficiency are as important as speed.
“The competition tests, in an integrated way, the students’ knowledge of physics, maths and chemistry, but also allows them to develop notions of management, communication, leadership and entrepreneurship”
In addition to the competition, the programming of the Solar Challenge includes exhibitions and lectures open to the local community, in which subjects related to clean energy are discussed. The goal is to involve Búzios’ population, especially state school students, in discussions about the use of renewable energy and the future of mobility through the use of electric vehicles.
“We are currently the biggest player in solar energy in Brazil. Our goal is to promote the development of and discussion about new technologies in clean and renewable energy sources for application in mobility projects”
The Solar Challenge is an initiative of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) through NIDES (Núcleo Interdisciplinar para o Desenvolvimento Social – Interdisciplinary Centre for Social Development), in partnership with Enel and with support from the mayor of Búzios. The project in inspired by the Frisian Solar Challenge, a European event for solar vessels that takes place every two years in the Netherlands.
In 2017 an even larger number of teams is expected to be participate to the competition. It will be another opportunity to share knowledge and experiences about sustainable energy in an environment that is a lot more educational and productive than competitive. Regardless of who comes first, in this contest everybody wins.