Belgian Solar Team unveils secret weapon as it prepares for the next challenge
On Friday, the team will start the Sasol Solar Challenge: a competition for solar cars with a challenging trajectory between Johannesburg and Cape Town. For this race, the engineering students have added an innovation to their newest solar car, the BluePoint Atlas, which allows them to sail on the wind.
For more than a year, the students worked on the BluePoint Atlas to further improve it after it finished second in the Solar Challenge Morocco in October 2021.
In addition to improvements to the car's braking system, and others, the team spent a year working on their biggest innovation: adding an aerodynamic fin that allows the car to sail on the wind. It is the first solar car ever to be equipped with such a system. The students are extremely proud that they can finally show this innovation to the world.
For a year, our team has been working hard to improve our solar car. After months of keeping our fin a secret, we can finally reveal our fin with great pride to the outside world.
Ronan Beauthier (23, Vilvoorde), Mechanical Engineer with the Agoria Solar Team
For the design of their fin, the students of KU Leuven took inspiration from nature: the shape of the fin is based on that of a shark. This shape was optimised for several months by using computer simulations, wind tunnel tests, prototyping, test drives with the solar car, etc. The fin allows the students to sail their solar car on the wind. When there is enough crosswind, the car is pushed forward by the present wind. The fin provides a great advantage in these conditions. The team members hope for wind during the race that starts on Friday.
The shape of the fin ensures that we consume less at the right crosswind angles. This makes the car more efficient and we can drive further using the available energy from the sun.
Zander Radelet (23, Aarschot), Aerodynamic Engineer with the Agoria Solar Team
Sasol Solar Challenge
On Friday, the Belgian team will start the race. During eight days, they will travel between Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is the first time that the Belgian Solar Team takes part in this unique challenge.