Last week I had the opportunity to meet the Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) team thanks to Mark Green (no relation!) of Intel, one of their main sponsors. The event was held to officially launch their campaign for the 2011 World Solar Challenge. I found the team an uplifting example of what can be achieved with true enthusiasm and dedication for what they are attempting to do.

For those who have not come across the World Solar Challenge before, it is a race from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia, a distance of 3,000km across the outback, held every two years, where the vehicle has to be powered entirely by solar energy. If that wasn’t hard enough the race has to be completed in less than 50 hours! A battery is allowed but it is only allowed to store up to 5kW hours of energy, less than 10% of the theoretical energy requirement for the trip. There are also limits on the amount of solar cells which can be used.

CUER first competed in the 2009 event, managing 14th place out of 26 entries – an excellent first attempt, especially when you consider the team is made up of undergraduates and doesn’t have multi-million pound funding like many of these challenges and world record attempts you see in the press. For 2011 they have set their sight on a much higher position and to achieve this they have to overcome a number of hurdles. Firstly, as is typical with student activities, nearly all of the original 2009 team have graduated and moved on, so in many ways they are having to start afresh. Funding is also a big challenge, to the extent that they cannot afford to replace their 2009 entry “Endeavour” so instead they are having to modify it based on information from 2009 and subsequent testing and computer modelling (for which Intel provides a high power cluster environment).

“Endeavour MKII” however is an ingenious piece of work, with many tweaks and changes including significantly reducing the drag factor, changing the battery technology (which caused major problems in 2009), implementing a new car management information and control system, as well as improving overall safety and stability (a key point when you are in a small, light vehicle being passed by an Australian outback road-train!). With all of these changes they are confident the vehicle is up to challenging the more established teams and bringing in a much higher placing.

The core technology can only go so far though; strategy and approach is also key – do you use regenerative breaking which adds weight or work on the principle that you won’t be breaking very often? What do you do when you hit cloud cover – speed through as quickly as possible risking excessive battery drain or hold a steady pace? Even at the end of the racing day (each day must be finished by 5pm) there are precious sun rays that have to be maximised by tilting the car towards the sun.

CUER isn’t just about a race though, they have also created an outreach program for schools with a hands on exercise in building a working model solar racer to help educate pupils about solar energy and environmental travel. The launch event also saw the conclusion of a schools competition run by CUER to design a car of the future, a competition that generated some very thoughtful entries from over 200 entrants. The shortlisted entrants were all invited along to the event to see the car, tour the labs where the team are working on it and take part in a hands-on educational session.

What’s great about CUER is that it fullfils a number of things; it’s a fun and exciting challenge, it helps inspire younger pupils via the outreach programme and it delivers some real advances in terms of technology and design that you can realistically see being used in future vehicle design. Hat’s off to a great team and good luck in October!

You can follow CUER on Twitter and Facebook and look out for the launch of Endeavour MkII around July before it starts its journey to Australia in August.

Endeavour Mk1 soon to receive its makeover to become Endeavour MkII

 

Etherlive have always had a focus on our carbon footprint with several initiatives to minimise it. This year we have signed up to reduce our carbon footprint by 10% through 10:10, a voluntary organisation aimed at reducing both personal and business impact on the environment.

Working a lot in the outdoor environment we certainly want it to remain as beautiful as it is now!

10% may be ambitious for a growing company but it is achievable. The methodology of the program means the 10% is relative to your business growth.

We are continuing to develop our solar options and high efficiency equipment but for the purpose of 10:10 our primary focus is reducing transport and mileage. Some of the things we plan to do include:

  1. Bringing less vehicles to event sites through better planning and transport sharing
  2. Where possible working with partners at event sites to reduce infrastructure, setup and power draw
  3. Ensure that when in a particular area for customer meetings we meet several!

The 10:10 pack has some great ideas how you can help your business or personal life have less impact on our planet – have a look.

Event Production Show  –  Etherlive  – Stand 614

For further information contact:

Helen Stevens
www.ascentpr.co.uk
T
. 01454 629741
etherlive@ascentpr.co.uk

Ecolite tower reduces hassle of festival communications

Lights, Connectivity, Action!

02 February 2010 – Festival directors will be able to reduce the hassle and cost associated with on-site communications, following the launch of the Ecolite-P Plus; a mobile communications tower which combines lighting, connectivity, surveillance, and PA services.

Traditionally, event organisers have hired in these services as separate units, a time intensive and costly exercise.

Tom McInerney, Sales Director with Etherlive, the company bringing Ecolite to the events market, explains, “The Ecolite concept comes from the construction industry – taking temporary light, sound and communications onto exposed and sometimes remote sites. Working with ACE Plant, we’ve adapted the tower to suit the needs of festival communications; combining services that would otherwise have been hired as separate pieces of kit – each needing its own power supply and stand.”

The Ecolite-P Plus, developed by Etherlive in partnership with Ace Plant, also includes many features which will help site managers reduce their environmental footprint, alongside advanced CCTV capabilities such as auto number plate recognition.

The Ecolite unit packs away into a single pallet size, which makes it convenient to transport.  Once in situ, the Ecolite tower can only be moved by a fork-lift truck, which helps to minimise the risk of theft.

Alan White, Managing Director at Ace Plant adds, “The beauty of the Ecolite-P Plus is that, once deployed, it can be left to run on-site for up to seven days with its own power generator. This gives festival organisers one less thing to worry about”

Visitors attending the Event Production Show will be able to take a look at the Ecolite-P Plus by visiting Etherlive on stand 614.

ENDS

About Etherlive
A successful event depends on great performances. From WOMAD and The Green Man Festival to Southampton Boat Show and Three Counties Show, we are the ones that make IT work. Etherlive sits behind the scenes delivering reliable WiFi, the internet, telephony, laptops, cash machines and interactive messaging. Whether in a field or a hanger, we make connectivity simple.

http://events.www.etherlive.co.uk

About Ace Plant
Ace Plant is the trading style of Adams Cundell Engineers Ltd.

The company was formed in 1973 by David Adams and Frank Cundell. Initially the company was based at Firs Farm, Old Stratford and in 1974 Ace Plant purchased its first tractor, a 1968 Ford 4000. This original tractor is still owned by us and was recently been restored for display at our 25th anniversary party.

Since those early days we have expanded our range of services considerably and this policy of continued improvement and expansion necessitated a move in 1981 to new purpose built premises in Cosgrove Road, Old Stratford.

www.aceplant.co.uk

For further information contact:

Helen Stevens
www.ascentpr.co.uk
T
. 01454 629741
etherlive@ascentpr.co.uk

Lights, Connectivity, Action! Etherlive and AcePlant release the Ecolite P Plus tower light with embedded communications and security technology

Etherlive in partnership with Ace Plant are launching the brand new Ecolite P Plus at the Showman’s Show at Newbury show ground, stand 171, Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd October. This new tower light comes ready to illuminate any event with integrated CCTV, public address and Wi-Fi connectivity, all in one eco friendly unit!

The Ecolite P Plus has been created in collaboration with TCP, based on the latest Ecolite tower light it includes many features which will help site managers reduce costs and their environmental footprint whilst benefiting from technology such as wireless internet and CCTV coverage.

With the addition of industrial Wi-Fi the unit automatically meshes back to existing Etherlive wireless networks in the area, providing secure internet access, CCTV video and public announcements.

The Ecolite P Plus includes all the advantages of the Ecolite family of tower lights which include advanced high efficiency, low glare, ceramic discharge lamps which make the bulbs 85% more efficient than traditional tower lights. The unit has been designed with a pallet size footprint which uses over 50% less space during transport than conventional tower lights (20 on a standard lorry) but still includes a hydraulic 9.1m mast using bio-degradable fluids which can withstand 100 kph winds.

With multiple power options, including seven day generator and hot swap battery; lighting, communications and security systems such as the pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) CCTV camera will continue to operate regardless of the external power environment.

The communications capabilities of the EcoLite P Plus includes industrial Wi-Fi and wired network access which can deliver VoIP services and other network access as required. Public address announcements are sent to the unit from a central point and broadcast using the built-in speakers.

About Etherlive
Based in Wiltshire, England, Etherlive is a technology services company working in partnership with event organisers to deliver key services such as VoIP, internet, CCTV, payment processing, interactive advertising and rich media to all types of festivals, events, product launches and conferences. A finalist in the Red Herring 2009 technology awards, Etherlive has developed a range of solutions tailored to meet the demands of the live event environment all backed by experienced deployment & support teams. For more information visit http://events.www.etherlive.co.uk