Group Launches RP's Second Solar Car


The Philippine Solar Car Challenge Society, Inc. (SINAG Society) yesterday unveiled its second solar- powered car, Sikat, which is faster, cheaper, lighter and effective than its predecessor.

It is sleek, small and light. But this race car looks more like an unidentified flying object with a yellow star on its head.

But the UFO-like style isn’t what makes this car strange and special. It’s about what it stands for.

Following the success of the country’s first solar car, the Philippine Solar Car Challenge Society, Inc. (SINAG Society) yesterday unveiled its second solar- powered car, Sikat, which is faster, cheaper, lighter and effective than its predecessor.

Former Energy Secretary Vincent Perez, honorary chairman of SINAG Society, said that Sikat was created to encourage the country to start shifting to renewable and sustainable energy for the Filipinos’ energy needs, and a way to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

"It is positive proof of the Filipino people’s technological capability to develop solar power as a viable source of renewable energy," Perez said.

Sikat is more lightweight at about 200 kilos, requires less power and runs faster than its predecessor Sinag, said Isidro Marfori, Sikat production head.

He said that it has a better mechanical system with lighter parts. Since it’s much better, it can run more than 112 kilometers per hour, which was the top speed of Sinag, he added.

The Filipino-made one-seat car with three wheels is made up of a carbon body, making it light and faster.

Its top surface is covered with Sunpower solar cells or photovoltaic cells that convert light energy to electrical energy.

The Sunpower cells, which is Philippine-made and the most efficient commercial solar cells in the world, has an energy conversion efficiency of 22 percent, the best commercially available solar cell today.

"All area from the top is solar panels that are charging the battery inside (the car)," he said. With this, the car would not run out of energy as long as it is day. At night, it would run through its solar battery with a life of eight to 10 hours, he said.

"Mas maliit, mas maiksi, mas mabilis, mas mura…Walang usok na lumalabas diyan," Perez said.

Marfori said Sikat, which means sunray, is set to compete in the 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia.

Sikat was made by faculty and students of the Mechanical Engineering and Electronics and Communications Engineering Departments of De La Salle University-Manila in partnership with SINAG Society.

Carl Mamawal, driver and member of the Sikat production team, said that it took them four to five months to complete the solar car.

But Marfori noted that Sikat is not just intended for racing. It means more than that.

He said that solar cars like Sikat could be converted into hybrid cars for public transportation.

This could be done by using both solar panels that would capture solar energy and fuel in making a vehicle run.

"Less gasoline, less pollution," Marfori said. This way, carbon dioxide and green house gas emissions--which cause climate change--emitted by the transport sector would be reduced; hence the sector would contribute to the country’s climate adaptation programs.

"Hopefully, (we can) start doing other forms of solar powered vehicles like an electric-diesel jeepney… Sustainable, renewable, malinis," Perez said.

Jeepneys would be a good model of hybrid transport vehicle because it is smaller than buses, he said.

Perez said solar energy, one of the cleanest method of energy production, is abundant in the country because it is near the equator, making it possible for solar energy to be the used in transportation in the future.

But is all starts with awareness, Ed Chua, Pilipinas Shell chief executive officer and SINAG Society president, said.

Thus, SINAG Society would launch a nationwide Sikat road show to inform Filipinos, especially the youth, starting January.

They would also visit universities to encourage them to make their own solar cars and educate students about renewable energy, Perez said.

Sinag Society said that "while solar cells are currently expensive to manufacture, the cost of solar power is gradually decreasing as the technology improves and becomes more cost-effective to mass produce."

Marfori said that what needs to be done now is to continuously improve technology.

International institutions like the Asian Development Bank has noted in a study about Asia’s transport sector that worldwide transport sector accounts for 23 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions that causes climate change; while transport related carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase 57 percent worldwide during 2005-2030. And the transport in developing countries, which includes the Philippines, would contribute about 80 percent of the increase.

SINAG Society along with the faculty and students of the Mechanical Engineering and Electronics and Communications Engineering Departments of DLSU-M would make another solar car after two years, Ramon Agustines, president of Motolite and president of the SINAG Society.

Sinag, the first RP-solar car, was introduced in 2007. It finished 12th place out of 40 in a 3,000 kilometer race.

Copyright: arcticle: Dwight Sarga, Malaya



Original article from: http://www.malaya.com.ph/12172009/busi7.html


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