All teams are currently preparing their participation at the 24 hours iLumen European Solar Challenge. During the next weeks, each team will be presented on the iESC website. Today we start with the Futuro Solare Onlus team from Siracusa (Italy).
“Our team was born 10 years ago with the spirit to achieve and study technologies to improve urban movement of people”, founder Enzo Di Bella explains. “We started by building electric bicycles to solar charging.”
“The team is composed of people that come from the technical field of work and the academic world. Right now we have a group of 20 people with many different skills: design, energy consulting, composite construction, relationships with sponsors and media, graphics, composites manufacturing polyurethane, electronic systems, telemetry, logistics,…”
“We are really excited because the 24 hours iLumen European Solar Challenge will be the first official race ever in which we participate”, Di Bella admits.
“Our car is called Archimede in honor of the great mathematician and scientist from Syracuse, thanks to which came the modern mathematics and Galileo Galilei was able to develop his scientific studies. Also Archimede 1.0 was born in Siracusa and we are proud to have built this solar car in Sicily!”
“The car was designed by referring to the Regulation of the Word Solar Challenge, so it is 450 cm long, 175 cm wide and 150 cm high; Archimede 1.0 was tested for the first time last year at the Pergusa Circuit (Enna), on October 15, 2015.”
“Archimede 1.0 was build for 80% in the laboratories of our association, Futuro Solare non-profit organization, starting from the source material that has been realized for the first time by us with an aluminum honeycomb coated with a triaxial fabric made of aramid, carbon and glass fiber, using a positive mould. The MPPT controller (maximum power point tracking) and the motor are standard, but we modified them according to our needs.”
“Faced with the strong need that drove us to face this new venture, but constrained by a tight budget, we realized how important it was to prove that it was possible to build solar cars at a low cost. The cost incurred to realize the car is just over 15 thousand euro.”
The Archimede 1.0 will makes its official race debut during the iLumen European Solar Challenge, which will take place at Circuit Zolder in Belgium. “None of our team members has ever been at this circuit. But some friends, who have run the Nascar Finals in 2015, are helping us to know it better”, Di Bella explains. “We believe it is a demanding track, so we are watching some youtube videos in order to prepare us better.”
The European Solar Challenge is the first solar car race ever that lasts 24 hours. “The iESC is very interesting, also thanks to the competition rules, not just because of the duration. We think that we will have to be thrifty with power management, and we have to try to optimize the pitstops available.”
But aren’t there any differences with shorter races? “In a short race the index of the values relate to the pure performance of the car, while in an endurance race variables and contingencies can play an important role in leveling the values at stake. It will definitely be exciting.”
With which ambitions the Futuro Solare Onlus team will travel from Sicily to Belgium? “For us it is already an achievement to be here and to compete with top teams”, says Di Bella. “But we are also ready, because for us it is important to show that ideas, at times, are worth more than the money committed to implement them.”
To finish, Di Bella hopes as many people as possible will travel to Circuit Zolder to attend the race. “This and other similar events represent important steps in improving the quality of people’s lives and, in our opinion, it would be nice to say “I was there” !