After the Dutch Technology Week (DTW), in which the whole of the Netherlands got to know LINQ through media or an actual tour, team VIRTUe started 'the real work'. According to spokesman and architecture student Michiel Derikx, that means packing the house and transporting and rebuilding it in Dubai to participate in Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018.
Last summer we worked on the power supply, the water system and the cooling. We arranged accommodation for the team and made a decision about taking Stella along. "We will sleep with all fifty of us for seven weeks in a hotel which gives us space as it does with their own staff," says Derikx.
A number of issues have been adjusted, the spokesman explains. "For power we have now opted for a hybrid system with eighty percent direct current and twenty percent alternating current. The plan was that we would not convert the direct current from the solar panels into alternating current because that is really only necessary for power transport which is minimal here. But because of the rules of the competition and the fact that there is not much domestic equipment available on the Dutch market that works on direct current, that is not possible."
VIRTUe has also taken a step back in terms of sustainable water supply. "We did not get everything sponsored," Derikx explains the lack of the desired recycling of, among other things, dirty water. "We have installed an upfall shower. That shower recycles water while you are using it. It is filtered, disinfected and brought up to temperature again."
During the DTW, the solar panels and the air conditioning were not yet operational. They are connected in the summer period. "We had the air conditioning in use for two days, and then packed immediately because we are so thrifty. That's a shame because it was unbelievably hot." The team started working at seven o'clock in the morning already during the heatwave, until it was no longer tolerable, around two o'clock.
Construction package LINQ is not yet fully complete. The students are going to make the exterior finish in Dubai. It consists of tiles of biocomposite that are currently being produced in Amsterdam. The green wall is simple to build and a grower has already been found that will supply succulents on the spot.
Stella Lux is coming along
The competition assignment states that there must be a durable car at the house. Derikx is very content that Stella Lux will come along [by the way, at the photo you see Stella Vie]. "The car has already proven itself and Solar Team Eindhoven also wants to show it to the general public. It was quite difficult to arrange the regulations and insurance for the car. We will drive her around the Solar Hai, the park where all projects will be exhibited from the 14th till the 29th of November. She does not have to go on the public road, but she has to drive around."
Four months ago, Derikx went to Dubai with a part of the team to pitch for the organization. We then also contacted employees whom we will be dealing with in October: electricians, crane operators, transport companies, the battery company and not to mention, the jury. Derikx: "We have made agreements, asked questions and looked around at the location and the other participants. Of the twenty projects, there is only one other team that, just like us, does not make a detached house. We build an apartment that belongs to a whole complex. We want to renovate in the core of the city instead of create yet another expansion of Dubai. With this we expect a good jury assessment and hope to get a lot of points in the categories of sustainability and innovation."
According to Derikx, the most exciting part of the entire race will start soon, when the team has to hand over the containers and depend on the transport company and customs. "I would rather drive the things myself. Now we can only wait and nothing is worse, right?"