The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge (ADSC), the first ever solar car competition to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be held Jan 16-19 next year, it was announced Tuesday.
Navigating the entire country, the 1,200-km ADSC will start and finish in Abu Dhabi. It will coincide with the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and end at the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit.
The challenge is sponsored by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and hosted by Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, Masdar.
Sanctioned by the International Solarcar Federation (ISF), and jointly organised by Global EEE and Professional Sports Group, the challenge will attract over 20 of the top university solar car teams from Australia, Europe, the US and Asia.
The teams will travel from across the world to compete in the cross-country event similar to the World Solar Challenge in Australia and the American Solar Challenge in the US.
Hans Tholstrup, president of ISF and the organiser of the first World Solar Challenge in Australia in 1987, said: "We had been exploring the addition of a solar car challenge in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region for several years now, and the emergence of the UAE as a leader in the region in future energy and education is quite evident making it the natural choice for this challenge."
The UAE has been a pioneer in the region through its various renewable energy investments both domestically and internationally. Most notably, Shams 1, the 100MW concentrated solar power plant developed by Masdar, is the region's largest project.
"As the region's renewable energy pioneer, committed to clean technology innovation, the UAE is proud to welcome the solar car challenge to the emirates," said Sultan Al Jaber, UAE's minister of state and chairman of Masdar.
"This competition drives both human capacity development and ingenuity that can further advance energy efficiency technologies within the transportation sector. We hope that this display of friendly competition from global universities will inspire local youth to pursue degrees in science-based fields."
Designed and built by university students, the competing solar cars are complex machines that bring together the latest technologies from the renewable energy, aerospace and automotive industries.
UAE's Petroleum Institute has brought together engineering and electrical engineering students to create a team for the ADSC, and will be the first ever from this Gulf nation to compete in an event of this kind.