A team of student-engineers from the University of Northern Iowa is taking part in a solar boat competition this week on a lake in New York state. Their advisor is Recayi Pecen, a U-N-I industrial technology professor. He says the 110-pound fiberglass boat they’ve built runs on two electric motors, powered by batteries that get their energy from the sun.It’s called the “e-Boat” for energy-efficient boat. It’s bullet-shaped, painted in camouflage colors and is 13-point-five feet long. This is the second year U-N-I is taking part in the World Championship Solar Electric Boat Regatta in Buffalo. 27 other university teams are taking part from across the U.S. Last year, U-N-I finished the contest 17th of 22 teams. There are several competitions, including a slalom, a sprint and an endurance race.The competition begins Wednesday. The finals are Sunday. The e-Boat team members are, U-N-I students: Chad Clark of Cedar Rapids, Dan Frisch of Waterloo and Aaron Mitchell of Manchester, and May U-N-I graduate Derek Paulus of Rockford. Professor Pecen says the ultimate goal is to raise awareness about the importance of alternative energies, like solar, wind and energy cells, which could help reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil. Also, he says the use of solar boats would greatly reduce pollution in our waterways.Pecen says the zero-emission solar boat promotes eco-friendly boat technology. He says worldwide, more than 236-thousand metric tons of oil and oil products are leaked into the water through boats, more than seven times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989.
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