Sussex Power Storm,
Who are we?
We are Sussex Power Storm, a team of 10 Masters-degree students with Mechanical Engineering and Automotive Engineering backgrounds from the University of Sussex (Brighton, UK). We all share an interest in wind power technologies. Our approach to Racing Aeolus capitalises on what we term as ‘garden shed logic’. Using well-researched and developed pre-existing technologies, we aim to produce a highly efficient wind-powered vehicle (WPV) at a low cost of production and operation. However, this year we hope to introduce one or two new technologies with our WPV that make for a more intricate product and which aim to boost our performance.
Last year, at Racing Aeolus 2018, our team finished fifth overall in the competition and achieved a third place position in the drag race. Nevertheless, this year, we have set ourselves ambitious goals to spur on the team into creating the optimal WPV:
Produce a WPV that achieves at least 100% car to wind speed ratio.
Finish first in the competition’s drag race.
Foster our international relationships with other teams.
Why do we compete?
We like to compete in Racing Aeolus as it provides a unique opportunity to be innovative. Many other racing events across Europe focus on the design of internal combustion engines or electric cars, which in the case of the former is rapidly approaching the limit of potential and, with the increased drive to clean energy sources and smart transportation, will bring the age of the IC engine to a close. Through Racing Aeolus, we ensure that we are staying close to the frontier of developing automotive and energy technologies.
In a similar vein, being part of a project with a pro-environmental spin is a great introduction into renewable energy engineering technology in the commercial world, and inspires many of the team members to consider it as a career choice, or at least be mindful about the environmental impact of engineering projects.
Most importantly, it is a fun event! We enjoy the challenge, discovering new things about wind power from the performance of our own WPV but also from observing the other teams. We make lasting friendships and are inspired by seeing the vehicle we worked all year to design and build perform as we hoped or better.
What else do we do?
We conduct extra-curricular events through the university’s Widening Participation program, in which we run taster days and summer schools, teaching groups of schoolchildren about the basics of engineering and getting them involved in simple exercises to demonstrate engineering principles, with the hope that they would consider choosing engineering or another similar Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degrees at university.
We also take part in University open days, whereby prospective students with university offers or school students come to visit the university. Here we are able to highlight the developments of the vehicle, demonstrate some of the ideas behind our designs and present a small slice of life as an engineering university student. Once again, the hope is for our project to inspire students to take up engineering and rise to a Masters level degree, where they could be the next Sussex Power Storm team.