The Alternative Energy Challenge – UT Austin Students Innovate with Simulation

Since 2010, the Alternative Energy Challenge (AEC), a competition organized by the University of Texas at Austin, has allowed students to gain valuable hands-on experience building prototypes, and to develop both critical problem solving and public speaking skills. AEC 2018 is expected to be the biggest yet, with a large number of teams of 2-5 undergraduate students expected to build and present their prototypes.

Each team is tasked with designing and building an original prototype that mitigates or eliminates one or more risks and/or problems that can arise before, during, or after any kind of natural disaster. The device should fulfill the following requirements as much as possible:​

  • The waste product should be minimal. In other words, the materials that make up the device should be reusable wherever possible (recyclable, compostable, etc.).
  • The device should operate on a clean energy source. The device should not be powered by an energy source which contributes to the greenhouse effect. ​

 

This year’s competition has been organized by students from the UT engineering student groups Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) and IEEE Power & Energy Society.

The theme for AEC is to create solutions for disaster relief. In wake of recent events, such as the hurricanes that hit the US South/East coasts and the Californian wildfires, solutions in this area are in high demand. Our vision is that the final solutions will have the potential to positively impact the communities around us.

Simulation can greatly help the student teams virtually test their design before building them. Students will have access to ANSYS technology and training — not only will that be key for the competition, but it will also allow them to gain key skills for their careers. The students look forward to being able to use simulation to speed-up the design of innovative solutions for disaster reliefs as well as test a large amount of ideas virtually.

Testimonials

  • I would like to hereby express my vote of confidence in Qfinsoft, in their ability to service and provide a strong support to us as a company.  We have been a customer of Qfinsoft for over a year and I am pleased to compliment them on their impeccable service offered to us thus far

    - Nico Gunther, Powertech Transformers

  • Since the introduction of ANSYS, more students are using first principles and FEA to validate their designs. This year, more than 60% of the projects were using FEA as a standard approach for numerical calculation. This number shows the huge impact ANSYS, had on University of Pretoria. FEA is not anymore a specialised tool for few users but a standard engineering tool easily integrated in the design process.

    - Francesco Pietra, University of Pretoria

  • For their consulting, training and technical support, Qfinsoft (Pty) Ltd must be the first choice of any firm looking for CAE experts

    - Prof G Akdogan, Process Engineering, University of Stellenbosch

  • At Aerospace, we have successfully used the ANSYS suite of tools to design high-performance gas turbine engines. Throughout this program, Qfinsoft provided valuable support and assistance to accelerate the development of our models. Their accessibility, short-turn around times and willingness to go beyond what is expected make them an effective partner on our projects. 

    - Dr. Hannes Pretorius

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