DLSU’s Team Sikat All Set for the World Solar Challenge in Australia

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It comes as a surprise to me that the Philippines has had entries in the past to an international event that perhaps may change the world in a better way, but sadly, not many have heard or even gave recognition to these unsung heroes.  Yeah, I guess it happens a lot especially when it comes to intellectual activities, but when it comes to physical attributes and activities like beauty pageants or sports, the whole nation stops and takes notice.

We have Filipino scientists discovering great invention and cures or Filipino student engineers competing in a major engineering or technology competitions but the country is not united in cheering for them.  They win quietly without any hero’s welcome back home. Thanks to CNN for giving attention to Efren Penaflorida’s project of education for the street children campaign, now the Filipinos know of him and give him recognition.

Another such event is the World Solar Challenge which does not seem to be getting much media attention in this part of the world.  Come on people, we are talking about the future.  A Solar-powered car created by Filipino engineers and students. Isn’t that something to talk about? Isn’t that something to celebrate about?  A Nation’s pride if we clinched this award.  If not, at least we try again next time . . . just like Miss Universe or Miss World.  We don’t always win, yet we cheer for our representative.  

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Our Filipino Team, Team Sikat, is already in Australia waiting for the big competition which kicks off on October 6.  We may want to give them our support as they fly the Philippine flag.  

Below are the details of the event and of the team in case you haven’t heard yet.  Go, go, go Team Sikat!  I know the country is proud that you have even reached this far.


World Solar Challenge

In 1987, the first World Solar Challenge invited bright young engineers and scientists from around the world to pursue the ideals of sustainable transport. The event posed the ultimate challenge: to design and build a car capable of traveling across the Australian continent on the power of sunlight and prove it by undertaking the 3,000 km journey in the spirit of friendly competition against other teams.

Since then, the event has been held biennially and has attracted world class teams from every continent. The Philippines sent its first entry with Sinag on 2007 where it finished 12th place. The country’s second entry, Sikat II, joined in the 2011 World Solar Challenge and finished 19th place.

Now on its 26th year, the 2013 World Solar Challenge will have 47 teams from 26 countries. It will be held from October 6 to 13. The teams will have to complete the 3,000 km race from Darwin to Adelaide. There are three classes in the WSC: Challenger class, Cruiser class, and Adventure class.

SAM_4972Team Sikat Solar Philippines

This year, a core group of 20 mechanical and electrical engineering students and six faculty members from De La Salle University modified and made some improvements to the 2011 Sikat II car. The development and modifications took seven months to complete.

The car had a series of tests runs at Basa Airbase and at SCTEX from April to June 2013. Based on the tests, the modified Sikat II performed better and was more reliable than its earlier version. The car was able to run with higher speeds at lower power consumption. With a race-ready car, the team decided to join the 2013 World Solar Challenge adventure class and their objective is to land in the Top 3.

By the third week of September, the 14-man race team will depart for Darwin in preparation for the race which will kick off on October 6.

SAM_4926Sikat II General and technical specifications

Name of Car: Sikat II

Year: 2013

Speed: Average = 80 kph Max = 110 kph

Weight: 175 kg (without driver)

Solar Array: Sunpower Silicon. Efficiency = 22% Max. power output = 1300 W

Modifications to the 2011 Car

  1. Aerodynamics: Lower coefficient of drag/better aerodynamic design through modifications in the fairings, lower ride height and smaller canopy

  2. Mechanical: New brake design, new suspension system

  3. Tires: New high performance Schwalbe Sleek tires with low coefficient of rolling resistance.

  4. Electrical systems: New battery management system, improved telemetry and wiring.

The famed solar car was reported to run with increased speeds at lower power consumption, making it the most efficient version of the vehicle to date. This will help further the team’s goal of landing in the top 3 of the competition.

The improved version of Sikat II runs at an average speed of 80 kph and a maximum speed of 110 kph. The solar car uses Sunpower Silicon with an estimated efficiency of 22%. It also uses a power output of 1300 W.

Sikat II also boasts of a new battery management system, improved telemetry, and upgraded wiring. Its brakes are also newly designed and the solar car has a new suspension system. For aerodynamics, it has a lower coefficient of drag achieved through modifications in fairings. High performance Schwalbe Sleek tires were also used for the car.

First Phil Holdings, First Gen, Energy Development Corporation, Sunpower, Ufreight, Shell, and Motolite helped make the improved Sikat II possible.

The solar car team wishes to further the cause of promoting the use of renewable energy and clean technologies in the field of transportation. The World Solar Challenge, established in 1987, has been a strong platform for young engineers and scientists all over the world for the pursuing the ideals of sustainable transport. 47 teams from 26 countries will be competing this year. 

Race Team

Sam Gavinio: Telemetry, electronics asset

John Anthony Jose: Weather monitor, telemetry, inventory assistant

Karlo Matriano: Wiring, auxiliary electronics, back-up driver

Elijah Romey: Solar car driver

Kenneth Navarro: Solar array, back-up driver

Francis Pulmano: Battery management, scout driver

Ferdyn Rañosa: Scout driver, logistics assistant

Leonard Ambata: Battery safety officer and first aid officer

Jingo Badillo: PR and media officer

Jack Catalan: Electrical team adviser

Carl Mamawal: Main driver, Logistics

Isidro Marfori III: Mechanical team adviser

Conrad Pantua: Safety officer

Richard Li: Project Manager

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