The Kickstart Kamper project has teamed up with RS Grassroots and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to launch the Global Solar Challenge, an ongoing university society event that helps make renewable energy and sustainability more accessible to students around the world.
As the Grassroots sustainability ambassador, I wanted to encourage engineering students to apply their technical knowledge and build on existing clean energy solutions, in an engaging and practical way using ideas taken from my campervan conversion as a novel theme.
We decided to design our first event around off-grid solar systems, with a particular focus on pushing the limits of efficiency and yield, as these factors are endlessly relevant in compact living environments like campervans, motorhomes, boats as well as more static low-impact dwellings.
To test our idea, we decided to donate ten boxes of solar components to IET OnCampus societies around the world. The kit was made up of three key components; a solar panel, a charge controller and a small lead-acid battery, in addition to all the connecting cables, that would introduce students to the simplicity of these systems and help spur some innovative ideas that might translate into some interesting modifications for my Iveco at a later date.
It is my hope in producing these challenges that we might see an accelerated uptake of renewable engineering subjects in higher education that is driven by popular demand from students having been given more exposure to these technologies. I also hope that one day these sorts of exercises will eventually inspire growth in sustainable industries, lifestyles and jobs.
Naturally, I cannot wait to see the results of these efforts and be able to showcase these projects to a diverse audience on the Kickstart Kamper website and on the Grassroots Hub on DesignSpark.