Proposing to build an electric car fitted out with a wind turbine driven by the air might seem like a rather peculiar idea. Not in the least because one might think that the drag caused by the turbine would cause more energy to be lost than that recovered by the turbine.
But that hasn’t stopped the organisers of the Aeolus wind energy race from challenging university teams from across Europe to build a car that can do just that.
Later this month, teams from eight European establishments – including one from Bristol University – will take their esoteric designs onto a racetrack at Stauning Airport in Denmark to race their custom-designed vehicles against one another.
The competition will take place over three days – between 24 and 26 September – with the vehicles racing under a variety of conditions to determine which can make the most efficient use of the wind.
All of the wind-powered vehicles that take part in the event must adhere to a strict set of design guidelines.
First, they must be land vehicles on wheels that are steered by a driver. Second, they must be powered by a device with spinning blades that can extract energy only from the wind. Finally, while the temporary storage of energy is allowed during the race, the storage device used – such as a battery – must be empty at the start.
Racing against the Bristol University design will be vehicles developed by students from many other European universities – the Wind Turbine racing team from TU Denmark, Team Inventus from Stuttgart University, Baltic Thunder from CE-Wind Kiel University, the North Energy team from Fachhochschule Emden/Leer, the Spirit of Amsterdam team from Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Team Anemo from Inholland Delft and a group at Fachhochschule Flensburg.
The event is supported by Ringkřbing-Skjern Kommune and Vestas Wind Systems.