As Bridgestone World Solar Challenge competitors continue to cross the finish line in Victoria Square this Friday, South Australian and Dutch experts will explore how to turn innovative ideas into commercial successes.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge: From Innovation to Commercialisation event was organised by the Low Carbon Economy Unit in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

A panel discussion will follow a keynote address from Ton Backx of Dutch company Lightyear, which has grown from a solar challenge-winning team to a start-up to a fast-growing solar car manufacturer currently accepting its first pre-orders.

The successful commercialisation of the technology developed by the University of Eindhoven’s participating solar teams, including the 2013 Cruiser-class winning Solar Team Eindhoven, was central to Lightyear’s growth.

Following his address, the South Australian and Dutch teams competing in this year’s challenge will discuss their experiences, the commercial opportunities for budding entrepreneurs through spinoffs based on their university’s solar technologies, and career options for future participants.

Background

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge: From Innovation to Commercialisation was organised by the Low Carbon Economy Unit in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

It will be co-hosted by Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter and Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Her Excellency Mrs Erica Schouten.

The World Solar Challenge is held every two years and sees teams of tertiary and secondary students from around the world travel from Darwin to Adelaide in solar-powered cars they’ve built.

This year the Challenge celebrated its 30th anniversary. Find out more at worldsolarchallenge.org

Quotes attributable to Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter

It’s exciting to see how far solar car technology has come since the first World Solar Challenge was held 30 years ago.

The impressive talent on display today is testament to the growth of the race over the years; not only are competitors coming up with the technology to win the challenge but they’re seeing how it is possible to build a sustainable business from their innovative ideas.

I’m proud to join her Excellency Mrs Schouten as we showcase the best technology from our two countries.

Quotes attributable to Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Her Excellency Mrs Erica Schouten

The Netherlands stimulates commercialisation of innovations by facilitating collaboration between government, universities and the private sector.

There are multiple specific programs such as the bi-annual innovation expo and our top sector policy that support a culture where working together is seen as critical in order to be able to compete on a world stage.

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a showcase for future car and energy technology. Both on a government and academic level there is a strong will by the Netherlands to work together with South Australia on these topics.