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Racing like the wind

Bristol University's entry into Racing AEOLUS

Bristol University's entry into Racing AEOLUS Dr Dave Drury

Press release issued: 16 August 2011

Teams from around the world will be challenging each other at an international wind energy car race later this week.

The UK’s only entry in the event, Racing AEOLUS, is a team from the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering.  It will be Bristol’s second time at the competition, which this year will be held in Den Helder, Holland from 17 to 21 August.

Racing AEOLUS is a unique competition bringing together teams from across the globe to race their custom designed wind-powered vehicles.

During the competition, the vehicles are raced under a variety of conditions to determine which can harness the energy of the wind most efficiently.

At last year’s race, held in Denmark, Bristol became the only team ever to complete the race using an electrical transmission system.

Dr Dave Drury, Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering, said: “One of the key benefits of Racing AEOLUS is getting students interested in renewable energy. The race is very rewarding for the students involved, as it gives them the opportunity to work alongside engineers from other disciplines and to gain valuable practical experience.”

“We aim to build on last year’s success and we hope that Racing AEOLUS becomes a flagship project at Bristol for many years to come.”

Final testing of the vehicle was conducted at Membury airfield and a team of staff and students will depart for Holland today [16 August].

All of the wind-powered vehicles that take part in the race must adhere to a strict set of design guidelines.  These include:

  • A land vehicle on wheels, steered by a driver.
  • Powered by a device with spinning blades, which must extract energy only from the wind.
  • Temporary storage of energy is allowed during the race but the storage device (e.g. battery) must be empty at the start.

The University’s involvement in the competition dates back to 2009, when a multi-disciplinary team of students and academics from across the Faculty of Engineering completed the preliminary design of the Bristol entry.

Detailed design and development of the vehicle has since been divided into three main work packages; energy capture, motive power and structural design. This has enabled students from all engineering disciplines to work on the vehicle both through research projects as part of their degree courses and on a voluntary basis during their vacations.

The project is also heavily reliant on several key academics, technicians and postgraduate students, who contribute large amounts of time in supervising the students and supporting practical work on the vehicle. Dr Dave Drury, a Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering, Clive Rendall, a Faculty Technician, and James Baker, an Electrical Engineering PhD student, have been pivotal in leading work to develop an improved vehicle for this year’s competition.                

The 11 teams registered to take part in this year’s race are:

Austria - Roland Ruf (Kunstuniversität Linz); Canada - École de technologie supérieure, Montréal; Denmark - Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) and Aarhus University, Institute of Business and Technology; Germany - Fachhochschule Kiel, Hochschule Emden/Leer and Stuttgart University; Great Britain - University of Bristol; Netherlands - HVA Amsterdam and INHolland, Delft; Turkey - Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul.


Further information

Full details on the project and the team’s progress both in preparing for and participating in the race can be found by visiting the Bristol Aeolus team website.

The project has been undertaken in collaboration with the leading renewable energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan and it is one of many new initiatives being promoted through the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute, a multidisciplinary research hub dedicated to tackling the challenges of environmental change.

In addition to GL Garrad Hassan, Aeolus Power (Wind-Energy) Ltd, the Bristol Port Company and Boeing UK have also generously sponsored the project and the University’s Alumni Association are funding the costs of travelling to this year’s competition.

The Aeolus team is also very grateful to Aviation Enterprises Ltd, who has kindly supported manufacturing work on the project and allowed use of their airfield at Membury for vehicle testing.

Any companies that are interested in being a sponsor and supporting the future development of the project should contact Paul Harper for further information.

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