The Petroleum institute (PI) is displaying its solar car at the ‘Exhibition of Electrical Industries in Arab World', being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 4th to 6th October, 2015.
The PI says its primary objective in this event is more of public awareness to the high potential of solar energy and to strengthen relationship with current and new local and internal partners in order to develop the technology related to solar energy. Another prime objective, behind the participation at the ‘Exhibition of Electrical Industries in Arab World' is for the solar car team ‘PI TEAM UAE' to benchmark themselves with international contributors in the solar energy domain and see where they stand compared to others. The nature of the solar car project and its size and relevant complexity make it unique in that it has been used to teach students on how projects are executed in the real world.
The Petroleum Institute Solar Car Project is designed to familiarise students with the use of cutting-edge technologies and the applications of various engineering concepts. The goal of the project is to design, manufacture, test, and race a solar car at a worldwide competitive level. Throughout their project, it was an aim to display it to the world.
Dr. Fahad Al-Maskari, Director of the solar car project, said: "The completion of the PI solar car has showed the world our talented youth within the PI. We have put our thoughts and souls into a product that we are all proud of. The collaboration between the team members has ensured a great outcome and the positive vibe is a leading example to achieving the best for the Petroleum Institute, we are all so proud of what they have completed. However, such a great achievement is all down to our leaders. Throughout the project they have steered and fortified us since the start of the project. I would also like to recognise our sponsors, without them we would not have made it."
The PI Solar Car was created in partnership with Tokai University from Japan, winners of the World Solar Challenge created most recently in 2009 and 2011. The PI solar car participated in Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge hosted by MASDAR last January. The team won the second prize out of 15 international teams and the PI students were honoured in World Future Energy Summit which was delivered by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The car without the driver weighs around 140kg and is 5m in length and 1.5m in width. The car has lithium ion batteries acquired from Panasonic, which weighs 20kg, and are powered by the 6m2 solar cells on the car. The theoretical top speed of the car is 150km/h and the maximum high speed that has been achieved is 123 km/h, staying within the legal speed limit of the road in UAE.
The unique design of the car ensures advanced aerodynamic capabilities thus allowing the car to reach those high speeds while consuming minimum energy. The project was initiated in fall of 2013 and the car was completed in fall of 2014. The components on the car are mostly from Japan, France and the United States, and the procured parts were all assembled in the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi.
The PI Solar Team is a very diverse team with members from a number of nationalities and multiple college levels. Seventeen students from the electrical and mechanical departments were involved in the design and manufacturing of the car and among them were 7 Emirati students. The current team now consists of 25 members both; from the undergraduate and graduate schools, as well as ADNOC group of companies.