Cedarville University won its fifth Solar Splash world championship. This year’s competition was held May 27-31 in Fayetteville, Ark. (Front row, left to right: Tim George, Jill Conway, Ryan Samuelsen. Second row: Krista Kroninger, Stephen Smith, Mordecai Veldt, Tim Vincent. Back row: Toby Dewhurst, Ben Hill, Dr. Tim Dewhurst, Jordan Winter, Ryan Reep.) Photo credit: Kim Dewhurst
by Public Relations Office—Cedarville, Ohio
July 7, 2009
Cedarville, Ohio—The five-day Solar Splash competition was tough, but in the end Cedarville out-maneuvered 14 other schools and sailed away with its fifth world championship title and this year’s Outstanding Drive Train Design award.
Cedarville now holds the record for the most world championships; Kanazawa Institute of Technology (Japan) has four titles, while the University of South Carolina has three.
Held in Fayetteville, Ark., the solar boating competition pits student engineers against each other to determine which team can create the fastest, most maneuverable, and most energy efficient solar boat. The vehicles are then tested in five on-water events.
Fifteen schools from three countries competed, including Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Arkansas and the University of Southampton (UK). The team from the School of Naval Architecture at the University of New Orleans placed second behind Cedarville, and the team from the University of Northern Iowa finished third.
“Perhaps the biggest lesson was that things take longer than you plan,” says Toby Dewhurst. “You can lay out a schedule for design, manufacturing, and testing, and even include time for things to go wrong. But still, everything somehow takes more time than you imagine.”
Cedarville’s 11 team members spent nearly 7,500 hours improving previous designs in an effort to make solar energy more efficient. Due to the natural inefficiency of solar energy when compared to petroleum, the challenge lies in designing a boat that runs on very limited power.
“We were given great freedom to exercise our creativity but pushed to take our ideas to the next level,” says Ryan Reep, a 2009 graduate. “We had the opportunity to own our work and the satisfaction of seeing it through to completion.”
Though solar energy is still not cost-effective, the current interest in “going green” is fueling research for alternative energy sources. The result? Innovative competitions like Solar Splash.
“Participating in Solar Splash provides an invaluable design experience to put into practice during the four years of engineering education,” says Dr. Timothy Dewhurst, professor of engineering at Cedarville and the Solar Splash team’s faculty advisor.
Various industry leaders have recognized the importance of this competition and donated materials and services to Cedarville’s team. These sponsors include MAS Epoxies, EnerSys, Quality Transmission Components, G&F Tool Company, Winston Heat Treating, Trojon Gear, Sure Tool, Quality Black Oxide, RPM Marine, Yamato Racing, Blue Sea and Airplane Plastics.
Cedarville’s teams work hard every year to improve on the designs built for previous competitions. It’s their work ethic, dedication to excellence, and team unity that propels them to success year after year.
To learn more about the competition, visit www.solarsplash.com. For more on Cedarville’s involvement in the competition, visit http://people.cedarville.edu/stuorg/solsplsh/.
Located in Cedarville, Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist university of arts, sciences, professional and graduate programs. Featuring a worldwide Christian ministries program, the University offers 100 areas of study to 3,000 students. Visit the University website at www.cedarville.edu.