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SUNY-ESF to Go Solar Boating Again

2005 Solar Splash

For Immediate Release

Syracuse—The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will compete again in SOLAR SPLASH, the world championship of solar/electric boating, to be staged on Hoyt Lake in Buffalo's Delaware Park, June 22-26, 2005.

The four seniors on the SUNY-ESF Solar Splash design team are: Charles Peguero, age 21, from Hazelton, Pa.; Kenny Liu, age 21, Dewitt, N.Y. ; Ayana Douglas, age 20, Nyack, N.Y.; and Craig Ferguson, age 21, Carthage, N.Y., studying Environmental Resources and Forest Engineering and this competition is their senior project.

This will be the second appearance for SUNY-ESF in the Solar Splash. Last summer, the students piloted their solar-powered craft named "Winter Solstice" to a 12th place finish out of 17 teams.

"We're going to try to improve on last year's boat, improving the electrical and mechanical systems," said Douglas, explaining how the 2005 team hopes to finish stronger.

"Winter Solstice" is a 16-foot-long, single passenger boat powered by energy harvested from the sun by photovoltaic panels. The fiberglass craft weighs 40 pounds. The battery powers a motor-driven propeller. "It (the competition) focuses on solar power. A lot of people think that means moving slowly but last year the ESF team got the boat to go 19 m.p.h.," said Peguero.

Ferguson explained, " solar panel efficiency is such that you only get about 15 percent efficiency so you have to balance how you can use that little bit of energy that you get from the sun. So a lot of this contest is about managing your energy."

"Another focus is to get engineering students working in a team environment plus it gets people in the community excited. They can see what solar power can be used for," said Liu.

Solar Splash is an international intercollegiate competition that takes place over five days. Technical inspections are done on the first day, and the remainder of the time is occupied by five on-the-water competitive events. Points are earned in seven categories.

In last year's competition, ESF scored 599.04 out of a possible 1,000 points. Cedarville University, the overall winner, scored 861.16 points. At this time, 18 schools have entered the 2005 competition while another seven have asked for entry forms.

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