The Nuon Solar Team, from Delft University of Technology (Delft, The Netherlands) has won the 2013 World Solar Challenge. Powered entirely by the sun, the Nuna7 vehicle made the 3,000-km/1,864-mile trip through Australia from Darwin to Adelaide in less than five days. DSM (Schaffhausen, Switzerland) provided the resins and application technology used to build the composites-intensive solar car.
Racing 3,000 kilometers across the Australian outback, where temperatures top 50°C/122°F, scant rainfall means the roads are covered in dust and nature is at its most extreme, is not for the faint-hearted. Undaunted, every two years a group of solar-powered cars begin the journey between Darwin to Adelaide in the World Solar Challenge.
The 2013 race saw 40 teams from 23 countries compete under the scorching Australian sun. Among them was the Nuon Solar Team with its vehicle, Nuna7. During the early stages of development DSM’s Somos stereolithography materials were used for rapid prototyping. Later on these same materials found their way into several of Nuna7’s important lighting and power system components.
Nuna7’s shell was manufactured using DSM's Daron resins optimized for use with TeXtreme carbon fiber (from Oxeon, Boras, Sweden), resulting in a stiff, strong, yet lightweight vehicle. Daron styrene-free resins are an alternative to conventional styrene-based resin systems.
Over the course of five days of racing, Nuna7 lead the field from starting gun to finish line while many succumbed to the rigors of the Outback. In the end it was a two-horse race, with the winners of the previous two races, the Tokai Challenger from Japan’s Tokai University, pushing Nuna7 for top spot.