UNM’s Solar Splash team shines brightly at national competition

June 14, 2024 - by Kim Delker

photo: Peter Vorobieff with the 2024 Solar Splash team at the competition in Ohio.
Peter Vorobieff with the 2024 Solar Splash team at the competition in Ohio.

The University of New Mexico Solar Splash team placed third overall and garnered other awards in the annual UPS Battery Center Solar Splash competition held June 4-8 in Springfield, Ohio.

In addition to the overall third-place award, the UNM team also placed second in the slalom event, third in the 300-meter sprint event and earned the Outstanding Hull Design Award, presented by ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Solar Energy Division.

Peter Vorobieff, a professor of mechanical engineering, is the team’s faculty advisor. Students in the competition were Tobechuckwu Agu, Auron Joyner, Tigress Lehmitz, Patrick Kingsbury, Helio Lopez, Ryan McGuire and Cade Sickafoose. Vorobieff said hull award was the result of months of meticulous work by team members.

“It was in-house designed and built carbon-fiber composite, ultralight and complemented with a carbon-fiber driveshaft,” he said.

The sponsors of this year’s competition were the UNM School of Engineering, mechanical engineering alumnus Roger Koerner and ExxonMobil.

The overall first-place winner was Cedarville University, with last year’s winner Puerto Rico-Mayaguez coming in second.

UNM has been competition in Solar Splash since 2016. Solar Splash is funded almost entirely through donations. Donations to Solar Splash can be made here.