Sibelco announces partnership with Innoptus Solar Team

Today, Sibelco announced a 2-year agreement to support a team of Belgian engineering students competing to build the world’s most innovative and efficient solar car.

, made up of 20 students from Belgium’s KU Leuven research university, will compete in this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Darwin, Australia. The famous biannual event, which will take place from 22-29 October, challenges competitors to push the limits of technological innovation to travel 3,000 kilometres from Darwin to Adelaide in a vehicle powered only by the energy of the sun.

As Gold Partners, Sibelco’s support will help the students to build and test a brand-new solar car to compete in Darwin and other international events. Having won the last World Solar Challenge in 2019 (the 2021 event was cancelled due to Covid) the team are determined to retain their title.

We are delighted to be supporting the Solar Team in their quest to design and build a world-beating vehicle. As a leading industrial minerals company, Sibelco’s materials are used to create thousands of essential everyday products, and some of our minerals are vital components in the type of renewable energy and technology innovations that will play a central role in the team’s new vehicle. This includes high purity quartz which is used to make solar photovoltaic cells and semiconductors, and minerals such as cristobalite and feldspar which are used to create aerodynamic surface coatings.

Hilmar Rode

Sibelco CEO

“It is a major challenge to build a vehicle to compete in the world’s toughest solar event,” commented Cedric Verlinden, Innoptus Solar Team Manager. “To succeed, it is vital that we get backing from forward-looking businesses keen to support a team of young engineers exploring new solutions for sustainable transport. That is why we are so excited to be benefiting from Sibelco’s financial support and expertise in specialist materials.”

The partnership was announced at an event held at the Sibelco Experience Centre in Mol, Belgium. The centre, where visitors can learn about Sibelco’s 150-year history and the essential role of minerals in everyday life, sits close to one of the company’s largest silica sand operations, which is powered largely by green electricity generated from 3 giant wind turbines and over 17,000 floating solar panels.

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