Kanazawa Institute sweeps "Solar Splash" regatta
supplied by Johnson Controls
uring two days of exciting races, students from Kanazawa
Institute of Technology in Kanazawa City, Japan, won both speed and endurance
portions of the Solar Splash, the world's first solar/electric boat regatta
featuring craft designed and built by college students.
About 130 students from 10 schools in Japan, Puerto
Rico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Carolina, and
Wisconsin participated in the event. The regatta was held August 20-21,
1994 on Pewaukee Lake, Wisconsin, about 20 miles west of Milwaukee. The
Solar Splash was co-sponsored by Johnson Controls, Inc. and the American
Society of Mechanical Engineers.
On a cloudy, windy day, the Kanazawa team won the 200-meter
sprint event with a speed of almost 22 miles per hour and a time of 23.5
seconds. Cheered on by hundreds of spectators, the University of Arkansas-Little
Rock came in a close second with 24.03 seconds. The University of Michigan
was third at 33.03 seconds, and McNeese State from Lake Charles, La. was
fourth at 40.00 seconds.
The sun beamed brightly during the endurance event on
the second day. Kanazawa's boat won by covering more than 16 miles in two
hours, with an average speed of about eight miles per hour. The University
of Puerto Rico came in second (13 miles), and Kobe University of Mercantile
Marine in Japan came in third (12.7 miles). Grand Valley State University
in Grand Rapids, Michigan was the top U.S. finisher in fourth place (11.5
Kanazawa's winning boat, the "Golden Eagle,"
is constructed of carbon F.R.P. It has twin propellers on a single strut,
which extend deep into the water. Kanazawa team pilot Akihisa Yamada said
winning the solar endurance race was more important than the speed race.
"This event really shows the feasibility of solar energy over a long
time," he said.
"The Solar Splash was established to promote interest
in science and technology, education and personal interactive skills. This
year's event was successful in all these areas, and everyone - including
the spectators - had a good time," said Michael Johnston, vice president
and general manager of the Johnson Controls Battery Group.
"The competing boats ranged from high-tech, sleek
racers and graphite hydroplanes to converted canoes and fishing boats. However,
the complexity of the design didn't always mean a faster boat," Johnston
said. He noted that more than 70 college teams have expressed interest in
participating in the 1995 Solar Splash.
Solar/electric boat from Japan's Kanazawa Institute of Technology
edges out the University of Arkansas-Little Rock craft in the Solar Splash,
the first solar/electric regatta featuring boats created by college students.
This entry was built by the students at the University of
Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. The event also featured entries from Japan, Arkansas,
Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Johnson Controls, the largest U.S. manufacturer of automotive replacement
batteries and a leader in lead-acid battery research for electric vehicles,
provided batteries for all participants.