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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


CAFES at UCM Sets Sights on Building a Solar Vehicle

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (July 29, 2010) – Students with the Center for Alternative Fuels and Environmental Systems at the University of Central Missouri (CAFES at UCM) are applying the principles of alternative energy to daily living as they begin construction of a solar-powered vehicle.

The solar vehicle project provides hands-on learning for students, giving them experience in developing electrical systems powered by alternative energy sources. The project also gives them an opportunity to compete with teams from other colleges and universities taking part in solar vehicle races across the country.

“This is an opportunity to educate and partner with the community about the benefits of sustainable energy, while having fun,” said Scott McKay, chair of UCM’s Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics and director of the CAFES at UCM. “The solar car team includes students from a variety of related disciplines across campus who will come together to produce a tangible example of what CAFES has to offer our students and the community.”

The project has a price tag. McKay estimates the cost to produce UCM’s solar vehicle will be about $20,000. The project has received commitments of financial support from Bert Doerhoff, CPA, Jefferson City, and HiTec, LLC, Bonnots Mill. IEI Industrial Enterprise, Jefferson City, has agreed to donate and weld the aluminum frame. The CAFES at UCM project budget is considerably less than solar vehicles from some other major universities, which may spend more than $1 million on such initiatives.

McKay hopes this project will be a community effort, and will seek help from several of CAFES’ business partners in the alternative energy field, as well as from automobile hobbyists.

“CAFES at UCM has enjoyed much collaboration with area companies and individuals,” McKay said. “Their continued support with this project will allow our students to learn from their research into the design, project management, and construction of the solar vehicle. We’re looking forward to welcoming new partners to this CAFES at UCM project as it takes shape.”

According to McKay, the goal is to complete the prototype vehicle in time for the UCM 2010 Homecoming celebration Oct. 18-23, unveiling the vehicle during the Homecoming parade.

For more information about the CAFES at UCM solar vehicle project and how to become a sponsor or get involved in other ways, contact McKay at 660-543-4949.