Alternative Fuels Australia

This year’s Solar Challenge isn’t just about solar power

Posted by Car Geek on October 21, 2007

Waikato University's UltraCommuter experimental vehicle. Image courtesy WSC.

For the past twenty years, the World Solar Challenge has demonstrated the ability to run a car purely from the power of the sun. With climate change and resource scarcity registering as a significant public issue, however, the organisers last year added a new class to the competition that promotes environmentally friendly vehicles that don’t necessarily need to run on solar power. Here’s some of the entrants for this year:

  • Team Ethanol, from Queensland, is using a production Saab BioPower vehicle to aim for its second consecutive Greenfleet Technology Class title. The team will be running on E85 fuel produced in Sarina, in Queensland’s north.
  • The University of Adelaide has entered using its BioBike, a modified motorcycle that runs on pure biodiesel.
  • Bios Fuel Corp will be running a diesel-powered vehicle on a controversial 60/40 combination of waste oil and water. The New Zealand-based team says that their H2W+ fuel is more advanced than ethanol or biodiesel.
  • The Japanese H2Solar vehicle won’t be competing for a title, but the JonaSun team is using the race to demonstrate their technology. The experimental vehicle runs on both solar power and a hydrogen fuel cell.

The race is currently underway, with the first teams expected to make it to Adelaide by the weekend.

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