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Covestro and Aachen University Students Partner to Design Solar Racing Vehicle

At the Eurogress in Aachen, Germany, Team Sonnenwagen presented its new solar racing vehicle, the Covestro Adelie. Over one and a half years, the 50-member team of students from Aachen University created a new car model based on interdisciplinary research and extensive experience. Their aim is to participate in what is possibly the world's toughest solar car race â?? the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, October 22-29, 2023. Covestro shares the enthusiasm of the students and supports the team with innovative material solutions, technical exchange, and as its main sponsor.

"For me, the Sonnenwagen is a powerful symbol of future mobility, because it shows us that we need to ask crucial questions about materials science and design on the way there," said Sucheta Govil, chief commercial officer, Covestro. "For me, the Sonnenwagen team are exemplary for creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. The students proved an impressive motivation and know-how to develop and optimize new ideas for solar-powered, light-weight electric vehicles."

As many as nine specialties of the Aachen-based team were involved in the design: the chassis, aerodynamics, structure, electrical engineering, driving strategy, production, sponsorship, marketing, and logistics.

In total, more than 50 teams from 24 countries are setting out on the more than 3,000-kilometer route from Darwin to Adelaide through the Australian outback. The climatic conditions will be harsh, with high temperatures and strong UV exposure. The vehicle will be subjected to strong mechanical stresses that can affect the efficiency and performance of the battery.

"The Sonnenwagen team therefore needed a lot of support in selecting the materials," said Andreas Brandt, head of Group Marketing and project sponsor at Covestro. "The new Sonnenwagen incorporates innovative products with different functionalities from various business segments, which are tested under track conditions."

The aerodynamic outer shell was made from milled SikaBlock® polyurethane foam blocks from Sika, a long-standing partner of Covestro and another sponsor of the team. The Sikaflex® sealants for the solar cells are also based on components from Covestro. Other examples include a plastic sheet made of polycarbonate for the battery enclosure and thermoplastic cushioning materials for the driver's seat trim.

"Pushing boundaries is what we at Covestro have in common with the young talents of Team Sonnenwagen," said Sucheta Govil. "We push the boundaries of innovation in materials, driven by our commitment to sustainable mobility of the future. With our products and solutions, we materialize the circular economy."

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KEYWORDS: adhesives in automative circular economy innovation solar energy Share This Story

Publication date: 19/06/2023

ASI. Adhesives & Sealants Industry

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31