Hi! My name is Esperanza and this year I will be working on the electronics department of the TU Delft Solar Boat Team. I am a first-year Sustainable Energy Technology (SET) master student, and I have a background in Electromechanical Engineering. Why did I join the Solar Boat team? It is my first year in Delft and I was looking for a challenge and an opportunity to put my knowledge into something as exciting as working in a D:Dream team.
Throughout my studies in Electromechanical Engineering I was always attracted by the electricity generation sector, and concretely by the scope and opportunities brought about new renewable technologies. That is why I decided to study SET – concretely the solar track – and that is why the Solar Boat seemed the perfect combination to my studies. My task so far within the team has been deciding which is the optimal type of solar cells to use considering the regulations of the races we will compete in. This is an important decision that will change many other aspects of the boat and it is also a great opportunity to have direct contact with the few companies that are leading the solar sector with cutting-edge technologies. After customizing the solar panels to our needs and ordering them, I will work on other parts of the electronics system such as the motor controller and the batteries.
What I really like about working on a D:Dream team is the fact that I get to work with people from very different technological backgrounds so I am learning a lot from them. We have periodical team meetings during which all departments update the rest of the team on their progress, ask relevant questions and so on. This interaction is very beneficial for all the team members since it allow us to broaden our knowledge to other fields such as for example aerodynamics or stability, which otherwise we would not have learned from our degrees.
Working on the Solar Boat is not only increasing my technical and engineering knowledge, but also it is also my teamwork skills. Every sub-department has to work in strict collaboration with the others because of the many interdependencies within the boat, and also every deadline has to be met since the schedule is really tight and many phases cannot be started without the successful completion of the previous ones. It is also a good opportunity to experience first-hand common problems such as budget limit, which as students we are not really aware of until we are involved in a real project like this one.
In conclusion, working for the Solar Boat is a very enriching opportunity in many aspects. I would definitely recommend any EWI student to get involved in a project like the Solar Boat to broaden their knowledge and prepare them to work in a real environment. The D:Dream teams need people with experience in Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, who will apply their knowledge to their exciting projects and who make of the challenges a success!