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News Highlights Author: Maha Al-Azar, Media Relations Officer, Office of Information and Public Relations, ma11 !


AUB teacher-student team builds first solar car in Arab region

Professor Asmar (center) flanked by Maalouf (R) and Kanafani (L)-- proud of their achievement

A team of fourth-#ear engineering students and their $rofessor ha%e successfull# built the first solar-$owered %ehicle in the Arab region" Named A$ollo&s 'hariot--in reference to the (ree) god of the sun--the steel-andfiberglass one-seater %ehicle measures fi%e and a half meters in length and two meters in width" It weighs about * )ilograms, or almost half the weight of an a%erage sedan" +ed b# Mechanical ,ngineering Assistant Professor -aniel Asmar, the team of ,lie Maalouf, Amin .anafani, Ahmed Hammoud, and Rawad el-/urdi, too) about se%en months of dedicated wor) to build the 0'hariot"0

1ith its aerod#namic design, the futuristicloo)ing %ehicle glides through the air 2uietl#" -uring a demo on cam$us, ,lie maneu%ered it effortlessl#--forward, bac)wards, along a curb, then u$ a small hill" Noise and air $ollution do not figure in the dictionar# of A$ollo&s Maalouf drives the ' hariot' for!ard""" 'hariot" 0It loo)s li)e a roc)et, but mo%es li)e a swan,0 said Amin, adding incredulousl#3 01e actuall# built a car that runs on a new )ind of energ#" It&s almost li)e magic40 0I reall# ho$e that, in the near future, I will be able to dri%e an im$ro%ed %ersion of this car, e%er#da#-- to uni%ersit#, to wor), to go out with m# friends,0 added ,lie" 5ut Professor Asmar admits that solar$owered %ehicles are still #ears from becoming commerciall# a%ailable" Right now, building one that can be safel# dri%en on the streets would cost more than a million dollars" Ne%ertheless, the# are im$ortant for research $ur$oses"
"""then backs up

A$ollo&s 'hariot cost about 678, , a sum that was raised through se%eral local and foreign s$onsors3 Power tech, a +ebanese com$an# that s$ecializes in batteries9 :oluntariato Internazionale $er lo ;%ilu$$o <:I;=, a %olunteer Italian association for de%elo$ment9 Italian 'oo$eration, a de$artment within the Italian >oreign Ministr#9 5#blos 5an)9 'arrosserie Abillamaa, a +ebanese com$an# that s$ecializes in truc) $roduction9 Oelle, an Italian manufacturer of farm truc)s9 5an) of 5eirut and Arab 'ountries <55A'=9 5ridgestone tires9 and the A?5 -e$artment of Mechanical ,ngineering"

@hrough AB small and eight large $hoto%oltaic cells, the car con%erts solar energ# into 1 watts of $ower" @he com$onents of the car include the cells and batteries, which ca$ture and store the solar energ#, and a -' <direct current= motor which con%erts energ# from the batteries into a uniform source of energ#" A """then turns around a curb maCimum $ower $oint trac)er de%ice also maCimizes the amount of $ower deli%ered from the cells" 0I&m ecstatic,0 said Professor Asmar" 0@his is a dream come true for me that would not ha%e been $ossible without our s$onsors"0 Asmar said that he had been dreaming to build a solar-$owered car e%er since he was an undergraduate student at the ?ni%ersit# of 1aterloo in 'anada" Asmar Doined A?5 as an assistant $rofessor at the end of 7 *" 01e feel %er# $roud of our achie%ement,0 he added" 0?suall#, researchers don&t manage to get their car to run li)e ours on their first attem$t" Of course, our goal is to )ee$ on im$ro%ing it, so we could com$ete in neCt #ear&s 1orld ;olar 'hallenge, re$resenting +ebanon and A?5 for the first time"0
#hirty-si$ small and ei%ht lar%e photovoltaic cells are !hat keep the vehicle runnin%"""

@he 1orld ;olar challenge is a A -)ilometer race b# solar electric cars, whose $ur$ose is to $romote research on solar energ#" It is held in Australia and was first launched in 1EF*, ha%ing ta)en $lace nine times since then" @he neCt race is scheduled for 7 E" @he team also ho$es to $romote solar energ# locall#, b# ta)ing the car on a road tri$ on the highwa#s of (reater 5eirut in the fall"