On Saturday, May 6th, the Solar Boat Team at UC Davis competed at the sixth annual California Solar Regatta. This competition is sponsored by the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) and it is an effort to promote renewable energy and sustainability among California High Schools, Colleges, and Universities. Participating boats are scored on performance, design, sustainability and presentation. This was the second year UC Davis participated in the competition, and the team was awarded Best Spirit, Best Drivetrain Design, Best Use of Sustainable Materials, and Best Overall Design which placed them as the tight runner up for the overall competition. These awards came after five months of hard work and countless hours of dedication from the entire team. This achievement was also possible with the contributions from the team’s sponsors and their faculty mentor.
The Solar Boat Team (Helios) is an engineering design team under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Moore in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. The Solar Regatta is a competition showcasing boats that run on solar energy. Boats can be retrofitted to run on solar energy or built from scratch. The Helios team design and fabricated a winning catamaran from raw materials and recycled parts. Additionally, a mechanical engineering senior design team fabricated a multi-gear drivetrain to address the different power inputs from the solar panels and battery.
Last year was the first year UC Davis competed in the Solar Regatta, and the boat was designed and constructed by five undergraduate students. This year the 20 strong team took the lessons learned and built on them. The team’s success was due to many efforts including the support of our sponsors: Coronal Energy, the MAE Department, College of Engineering, Resin Research Company, Insulfoam, UC Davis Facilities Management, Phillips 66, Davis Bike Collective, SunPower and Dr. Kingsley Wang. A special thank you to the Engineering Fabrication Laboratory (EFL) staff for their help and guidance in the fabrication process. The team invites you all to come check out the boat at the Senior Design Showcase on June 8 from 2-4 pm at the Arc Pavilion.