Composites in CO2-neutral vehicle
In January 2012 mountaineer and ‘adventurer’ Wilco van Rooijen and co-pilot Fokke van Velzen are embarking on a trip to the South Pole with a CO2-neutral vehicle running on solar energy.
Part of the bodywork consists of TenCate composites. With this expedition, Team Wilco wants to highlight the importance of sustainable energy and draw attention to the fact that in 2048 this continent will no longer enjoy protected status. The vehicle is designed by Team Antarctica, students at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology of the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht.
The climate-neutral vehicle that they are now building is powered by solar energy. Because it is equipped with solar cells, it is sturdy in build and TenCate Cetex® has been selected to limit the weight. This composite laminate based on carbon fibre is manufactured by Ten Cate Advanced Composites bv in Nijverdal. TenCate Cetex® can withstand the low temperatures during this period in Antarctica.
Panels of TenCate Cetex® are processed for reinforcement purposes in the lid of the boot (where the solar cells are installed), in the interior of the bonnet and the doors, as well as in the climate box. This is the electronic component that contains sensors and other parts that cannot withstand the extreme cold. The material was deliberately chosen: ‘We were looking for a reliable partner who is big enough and is based in the Netherlands,’ explains Emma Recter (product design & engineering). ‘TenCate seemed to be the right place to find the desired materials, and we’re very pleased that we can use this material.’ Besides materials, TenCate is delivering technical support.
Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. Once a temperature of -89.2 C was registered some 1000 km from the South Pole. The continent is almost completely covered with ice. Currently this continent is still protected by the Environmental Protocol, part of the Antarctic Treaty, against drilling for minerals. The protection by this protocol ends in 2048. This project is intended to provoke dialogue with the pundits and government leaders of the future. ‘By making the youngsters of today aware of this virgin continent and the possibilities of sustainable energy, they can later protect Antarctica.’