A New Partnership for Deakin University


Working together, ACCIONA and Deakin are investing in innovation as part of the construction of a solar vehicle capable of competing in the World Solar Challenge – a biannual event beginning in Darwin and travelling around 3000 kilometres along the Stuart Highway to Port Augusta and then via Highway 1 to finish in Adelaide.

A collaborative project, Deakin’s finest students and academics will work alongside ACCIONA’s personnel and resources to build a solar vehicle capable of competing at the highest levels.

Over 260 Deakin students across four different schools from three campuses are already leading the way in the vehicle project which includes investigating design, weather patterns, logistics, marketing, user experiences and the future of mobility.

ACCIONA Energy Australia managing director Brett Wickham said the company is thrilled to be entering the challenge with one of Australia’s leading tertiary institutions.

“As a world leader in renewable energy, we’re excited to be partnering with Deakin to promote innovation, education and engineering,” he said.

“It’s a superb educational establishment, and we are very impressed with the high quality of students and academics who will collaborate with us on this great initiative. We are looking forward to unveiling a fully functioning, registered vehicle
to the public by 2021.”

The challenge – which involves travelling the Australian outback in a vehicle powered by the energy of the sun – follows a 3,000-kilometre route from Darwin to Adelaide. Secondary and tertiary students from over 30 countries will compete.

Deakin’s vice president industry engagement, Peter Hodgson, who is also an innovation and commercialisation professor, said the university was “delighted” to combine its leading engineering research with ACCIONA’s industry expertise in the World Solar Challenge.

“Building a competitive race car is always a challenge, so it is critical that we bring together a team with the right people who have the determination and skills,” Professor Hodgson said.

“Our partnership with ACCIONA Energy Australia will deliver a winning combination, leveraging and building on Geelong’s rich automotive heritage, Deakin will add breakthrough technologies to deliver a world-class vehicle in this advanced manufacturing era.”

ACCIONA and Deakin are also actively working across a number of other environmentally based research and technology driven initiatives including:

  • The application of virtual and augmented reality applications in wind and solar farm development
  • Drone technology for wind and solar farm inspections
  • Preventative maintenance of wind turbines
  • 3D printing of turbine components to test in real life scenarios

These partnerships are real life examples whereby industry and education can work together to deliver tangible outcomes for students, whilst facilitating unique knowledge transfer opportunities and celebrating innovation along the way.