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Boats under the sun

In Búzios, teams from seven Brazilian states competed in a solar-powered boat race

UFSCIn Búzios, teams from seven Brazilian states competed in a solar-powered boat raceUFSC

Vento Sul and Babitonga, two teams from the state of Santa Catarina, were the winners of the sixth edition of the Brazil Solar Challenge competition for solar-powered boats. In November 2014, the race was held in Búzios, on the coast of Rio de Janeiro State. Formed by students from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) in the city of Florianópolis, the Vento Sul team came in first in the Monocoque category, while Babitonga, a team of students from the UFSC campus in Joinville, was the champion among catamarans. The Brazil Solar Challenge 2014 was a Brazilian version of the Frisian Solar Challenge, Europe’s most important event for solar-powered boats, held every two years in the Netherlands. The competition brings advanced technology and renewable energy closer to people’s everyday lives. A total of 350 university students participated in the 2014 edition of the event in Brazil, grouped into 23 teams from seven states (Bahia, Ceará, Pará, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, and Santa Catarina). The raceboats were built by the students at each university, with support from their professors. In addition to the races – eight, in total –, the event also offered workshops on telemetry, electric propulsion, and energy generation using solar panels. Promoted by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Ampla Energia e Serviços, which distributes electricity to 66 cities in the state of Rio de Janeiro, the challenge is part of the Búzios Smart City project (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue No. 202).