DAVIS, Calif.; May 16, 2017 – The UC Davis Solar Boat Team placed second overall at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s May 6 California Solar Regatta college competition. The annual event, now in its sixth year, is sponsored by SMUD to promote renewable energy and sustainability among California high schools, colleges and universities.
The engineering team and their solar boat, Helios, won “Best Spirit,” “Best Drivetrain Design,” “Best Use of Sustainable Materials,” and “Best Overall Design,” placing them as a close runner-up for the overall competition. Judges assessed solar boats based on speed, distance, maneuverability and other factors. More than 20 colleges and universities competed.
“These awards came after five months of hard work and countless hours of dedication from the entire team,” said Dr. Jason Moore, a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the faculty mentor for the Helios team.
This is the second year that UC Davis has participated in the regatta, with the team growing from just five undergraduate students last year to an impressive 20-member team for this year’s competition. The team includes engineering sophomores, juniors, seniors, and one graduate student from four departments within the College of Engineering.
Students designed and fabricated their winning catamaran from raw materials and recycled parts. Several of the seniors on the team applied their mechanical engineering design skills to build a multi-gear drivetrain component. The winning drivetrain design allowed the team to manage different power inputs from the boat’s solar panels and battery. The team constructed their solar boat at the Engineering Student Design Center.
The team graciously acknowledges the support of the staff at the Engineering Student Design Center, the College of Engineering, the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UC Davis Facilities Management. Additional sponsors include Coronal Energy, Insulfoam, SunPower, Resin Research Company, Home Depot Woodland, Dr. Kingsley Wang, Woodland Oral Surgery, Davis Bike Collective and Phillips 66.
The Helios solar boat will be displayed at the 2017 Senior Engineering Design Showcase on June 8 from 2-4 p.m. at the UC Davis ARC Pavillion.