The 24 Hours iLumen European Solar Challenge was staged at Zolder (Limburg) last weekend. For the seventh time student teams, who had developed their own solar-powered vehicles, competed. BluePoint, a vehicle developed by students of engineering at Leuven, notched up 346 4km laps in 24 hours.
It turned out to be a neck-to-neck race with a Dutch team from Twente but strategy won the day for the Flemings. “The Dutch team stood still for twice as long as us in order to charge the battery and get through the night” explained a member of the Belgian team that notched up two laps more than the Dutch.
During the day vehicles use solar energy. At night they can stop twice for up to an hour to charge the battery.
It was a triumph for the Flemings, who saw their participation in doubt as late as Friday when their vehicle was involved in a collision during trials. A night’s work but them back on track.
“Competition was rife” says Pieter April, the Agoria Solar team manager “but once again we proved that the Belgian solar vehicle is among the world top”.
The team now travels to Morocco for a new international challenge: covering 2,500 km through the Sahara and along the foot of the Atlas range in only five days.