University of Calgary

University of Calgary

October 03, 2013 11:32 ET

University of Calgary solar teams on the world stage

Solar car and solar house teams competing at concurrent international events

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Oct. 3, 2013) - Two high-profile international student competitions are now underway, with the University of Calgary being represented at both: the Solar Decathlon competition in Irvine, Calif., and the World Solar Challenge in Australia. Both teams are comprised of students from multiple faculties who have worked on projects that demonstrate the practicality of using renewable energy.

"University of Calgary is a world leader in sustainability research and education and these students are putting what they've learned into practice," says Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic) of the University of Calgary. "There are no better learning experiences than experiential, multi-disciplinary projects that solve real-world problems. Our students will be excellent ambassadors for the University, showing the world the results of their dedication, ingenuity and teamwork."

The Solar Decathlon competition is hosted by the United States Department of Energy and also features university teams from around the world. More than 100 students from the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University partnered to form Team Alberta. Their entry is Borealis, an 84-square-metre house with lights and appliances that operate on solar power. The house is net-zero, meaning it produces as much electricity as the occupants consume.

During the Solar Decathlon, teams will be judged in ten categories: architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, affordability, comfort, hot water, appliances, home entertainment and energy balance. At the last competition in 2011, the University of Calgary team placed 10th out of 19 entries with the Cenovus Spo'pi Solar House. The house is now a permanent facility on campus for solar energy and sustainability research.

"We're so excited the competition is finally here. Our team has worked tirelessly for two years with the conception, design and construction of this project," says Alexandre Ste-Marie, Team Alberta project manager. "It's been a rewarding hand-on learning experience for students in a range of disciplines. Being part of a multi-institutional team also enabled us to develop great collaboration skills. We're honoured to represent the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University at this prestigious event and we know we'll make Albertans proud."

Taking place at the same time on the other side of the globe, the World Solar Challenge features more than 40 university teams from around the world in a 10-day race through the Australian Outback. The University of Calgary's Schulich Delta will travel 3,000 km through scorching heat from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south. For the first time, the solar car is competing in the Cruiser Class, which includes cars with four wheels. The Schulich Delta is the most practical model to date for the University of Calgary Solar Car Team. For the first time ever, the car has four wheels, room for a passenger plus trunk space.

"The race team has been involved in vigorous training for the past year to get ready for the challenges we'll face in Australia," says Susanna Kubik, project co-chair with the University of Calgary Solar Car Team. "Many members, especially drivers, have been doing hot yoga to prepare for the temperatures they're about to endure. Other challenges such as spotty mobile phone coverage and internet service plus the 15.5 hour time difference will make it difficult at times to communicate with everyone back home."

The University of Calgary Solar Car Team is comprised of 47 students from the Schulich School of Engineering, Haskayne School of Business and the Faculties of Science, Kinesiology, Education and Arts. In 2011, the team raced its previous car, the Schulich Axiom, through the Australian Outback in the World Solar Challenge. The University of Calgary Solar Car Team emerged as the top Canadian team and placed 18th out of 37 teams from around the world.

The University of Calgary and Stanford University are the only two universities taking part in both the Solar Decathlon and the World Solar Challenge. The events run until October 13. Teams will provide regular updates throughout the competitions. Here's how to follow their progress:

Team Alberta at the Solar Decathlon in Irvine, Calif.
Twitter: @TeamAlbertaSD
University of Calgary Solar Car Team at the World Solar Challenge in Australia
Twitter: @UofCSolarTeam

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

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