Photo: Racing Aeolus Den Helder.

DTU’s wind-powered cars perform well racing against the wind

Monday 03 Sep 18


Mac Gaunaa
Senior Scientist
DTU Wind Energy
+45 46 77 50 89


Robert Flemming Mikkelsen
Senior researcher
DTU Wind Energy
+45 45 25 43 20
DTU entered two cars in Racing Aeolus Den Helder, an international competition for wind-powered cars in a headwind. One reached a speed in excess of 113 per cent of the wind speed.

There were high wind speeds of between 6 and 10 m/s when DTU’s two wind-powered cars took part in the Racing Aeolus Den Helder in the Netherlands from 23 to 26 August.

There were entrants from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Canada. A total of seven teams and eight cars were in the running—DTU being the only team to enter two cars, one with a mechanical transmission like all the other teams’ cars, and one with an electric transmission. The cars came third and fourth overall.

DTU’s mechanical wind-powered car led the way from the start, achieving speeds in excess of 100 per cent of the wind speed. On the third and final day, it achieved a staggering 113.1 per cent.

Unfortunately, however, it was pipped at the post by the Canadian team, which finished the race at a top speed of 113.9 per cent of the wind speed.

Wind energy conversion course
The winning cars were built by students on the Design-Build-Wind Energy course, along with their two lecturers, Mac Gaunaa and Robert Mikkelsen.

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the wind energy conversion, putting theory into practice as students seek to achieve the fastest possible speed of a wind-powered car, or the best performance of a wind turbine. The course ends with entering the two international competitions, Racing Aeolus Den Helder and the Small Wind Turbine Contest at TU Delft.

There’s nothing new about entering cars with electric transmission—this was the fifth year for the DTU team. What was new was that the electric car actually worked as intended, and that it is able to compete with the mechanical vehicles.

“The high wind speeds worked well for the design of our cars. DTU’s electric car was the first car with electric transmission in the history of the race to achieve competitive times of 65–68 per cent of wind speed, and was faster than several competitors’ mechanical cars,” explains Robert Flemming Mikkelsen of DTU Wind Energy.

The race takes place over three days, and the categories are ‘endurance,’ ‘100-metre drag race,’ and ‘advanced vehicle innovation.’ DTU’s mechanical car won the endurance race with an average speed over three days of 99.7 per cent of wind speed.

In addition, DTU’s mechanical car achieved the second-fastest time, but did less well in the drag-racing and innovation elements of the competition.

For its part, DTU’s electric car performed well in the innovation competition, because it was the first competitive electric car in the history of the race, and took second place.

For the endurance and top speed elements of the competition, the electric car was in the middle of the field, while the results in the drag-racing element were less successful due to a minor mechanical fault at an unfortunate time.

In addition to lecturers Robert Mikkelsen and Mac Guanaa, student Jacob, Jonas, Saeid and Akbar took part.

The next course will be offered at Master’s degree level, but BEng students will still be eligible to apply.

DTU-holdet med deres mekaniske og elektriske vindbil. Foto DTU
Photo: DTU.