As an Eco Port, Shoreham Port is enthusiastic about developments and innovation within the green energy sector and therefore always eager to support local initiatives and projects that aim to develop new ideas. When the Port were contacted by a team of enthusiastic mechanical engineers from Sussex University who have recently been developing a wind powered vehicle as part of their degree studies, the team were keen to learn more about how they could help.
The students had made a prototype and done some basic functional testing but needed somewhere flat, safe and in clear wind to do some proper proving runs. Shoreham Port were happy to assist by giving the team access to the revetment road on the Outer Layby, just east of the harbour entrance.
The students picked the perfect day with a steady westerly breeze, and no rain, and were able to run up and down the road in the shadow of the Port’s own wind turbines Spinny and Gusty with only the occasional member of the public observing their experimental efforts.
The large diameter turbine on their vehicle drives the lightweight aluminium chassis through a gearbox requiring some careful thought on torque, speeds, weight and materials. They learnt a lot from the day and are returning to the workshop to build an improved prototype by creating a carbon fibre body and implementing a new gearbox.
Tony Young, Chief Engineer for the Sussex Power Storm commented “The team and I had a great time testing the car at the Port. Wind conditions were perfect and the vehicle looked right at home in front of the two giant wind turbines. The testing gave us some really useful information, the car did not travel purely under wind power however; it travelled further than it has before. Our conclusion from the day is that the gearing on the current vehicle is not right. Our new designs incorporate a gear box, lighter weight chassis and new body, all of which will make us contenders in the upcoming race. We look forward to coming back to Shoreham Port and testing out our new designs soon!”
Brian Rousell, Deputy Director of Engineering at Shoreham Port commented “It was great to see such an enthusiastic group of young engineers meeting the challenges of providing environmentally friendly transport solutions here at the Port. We try to minimise the impact of our own activities on the environment on a constant basis and love working with the designers of the future where we can to keep ideas fresh.”