The 2010 Sunseeker Team: front, kneeling, L to R: Jesse Wick, Megan Derwich with duck mascot Arnsie, Courtney Rawlings, Mitch Panek, Andrew Oman, and Madeline McAuley. Standing, L to R: Abe Poot, Joshua Allen, John Kapenga, Nicholas Killoran, Byron Izenbaard, Alex Hoeksema, Brad Bazuin, Kenwood Hoben, Fred Sitkins, and Paul Engelmann
In a ceremony at the CEAS Parkview Campus, the WMU Sunseeker Solar Race Car team unveiled its new version of Sunseeker – the WMU entry in the 1,100-mile 2010 American Solar Challenge (ASC2010) race. WMU will compete with about 17 teams from across the country and from Canada, Taiwan and Germany.
This is the 10th time WMU students have participated in a biennial ASC solar race and is one of only a few teams that have participated in all previous races. The only other Michigan collegiate participant is a team from the University of Michigan.
The challenge officially began on June 12 with Scrutineering at the Motorsport Ranch Cresson, Texas, where cars are inspected to assure conformity to all technical and safety regulations. On June 19, the competitors travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the official race which begins the next day, traverses four states, and ends June 26 in Naperville, Illinois.
The new Sunseeker features state of the art technology. It was designed with a new, more aerodynamic shape (left), outfitted with new solar arrays recycled from prior solar cars, and built and assembled by the 2010 team
Leading the WMU team is Nicholas Killoran, a mechanical engineering senior, who, along with several other team members, spent all their time recently working on the solar car in the Plastics Processing Lab at the Parkview Campus.
According to Abraham Poot, Sunseeker advisor, the team worked around the clock to prepare this year’s entry, which contains an innovative new design.
Dr. Paul Engelmann, IME chair and a major contributor to the Sunseeker project, said the team spent six months grinding the cells off the original vehicle for re-use as solar arrays for the new car. He said they had saved $150,000 by recycling the gallium arsenide solar cells. “This team has been working around the clock for six weeks,” he said. “This team truly understands the concept of Just in Time.”
The ASC competition is organized to promote an understanding of the benefits and promise of solar energy technology. Students are encouraged to be creative and to learn from the hands-on experience.
To find more information about the WMU project, visit the blog at http://sunseeker2010.blogspot.com/