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Hesse SolarCup, an innovative educational competition
The Hessen SolarCup is a competition for model vehicles and boats powered by solar energy.
The main goal is to arouse and promote interest in technically oriented education.
At the Hessen SolarCup, children and young people experience the application of technology with solar energy. The focus is on energy efficiency and sustainability. Self-built, solar-powered model vehicles and boats compete against each other at the Hessen SolarCup. The winner will be the one who uses the sun's energy most efficiently. The focus is on teamwork.
The solar boats
Students in grades 3 and 4 work in teams to build a solar-powered boat equipped with identical propulsion components. The hull of the boat is made according to their own designs. In up to three races (weather permitting), five sail simultaneously on a water surface of 4x10 meters, each from edge to edge (4 meters) and back again. Documentation with illustrations from the construction phase will be judged according to a set point system, as will the design and construction. Each team will also produce a poster on a respective specified theme, which will be considered in the overall evaluation. The field is led by the boats of the teams that have collected the most points with the driving results and with the other evaluations in total. Advanced training is provided by the Water Experience House on how to build the solar boats and how to incorporate them into the classroom.
The ultra light solar mobile
In teams of at least 2 to max. 4 students (SuS), solar-powered ultralight mobiles are developed and built. For this purpose, 2 posters are created for each team. The first poster describes and documents the considerations for building the model. The second poster is designed on a special, changing topic. There are two separate evaluation classes: First, students in grades 5 through 8 (WK I) and second, students in grades 9 through 13 and apprentices. The design and selection of components (solar cells, motor, gearbox, switching mechanism, chassis) are free. The size of the solar cell area of maximum 276 cm² is mandatory. From 2022, a third discipline will be added: the modular class. The framework conditions are the same as for WK I, but a specific motor/gear unit must be built. The students are allowed to build the vehicles at home.
At the competition on the Königsplatz, an endless/circular track with lanes and guide grooves is set up on which the races take place. The race results, the construction of the ultra-light solar mobiles and the posters are judged.
Advanced training courses are offered regularly by the Kassel State Education Authority.
Teams are formed within a working group, school class or project seminar. Each team, consisting of at least 2 participants, designs and builds a SolaRobot and creates 2 posters.
In addition to the actual robot team, the support of the whole AG, class or seminar as spectators is very welcome. All SolaRobots have a microcontroller control and may be powered by a buffer battery. The solar cell array (as vehicle roof) may have a maximum dimension of 15cm x 20cm. The vehicles should be designed and built by the teams based on their own designs and experiments. SolaRobots built on the basis of kit robots are also accepted. In addition to the poster documenting the SolaRobot, each participating team will design and produce another poster on a special, changing theme.
The remote controlled solar mobile
Apprentices and high school students design and build remote-controlled solar mobiles in a team. The remote-controlled models are built according to individual ideas. All models have solar panels that are used to supply electrical energy. The models race against each other on a course at the Hessen SolarCup on the Königsplatz in Kassel. Constantly evolving rules and regulations provide new challenges for the participating teams in this discipline. The remote-controlled solar mobiles are relatively cost-intensive to develop and build and are located where companies train apprentices (electrical engineering and related professions, mechatronics engineers, industrial mechanics, etc.). Teachers at vocational schools cooperate with the training departments of the relevant companies. In addition to the number of laps driven, the evaluation to determine the best includes documentation and presentation, technology and design, and a technical discussion. The focus is on technology and innovation. Each team also designs a poster on a special, current topic from the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency.