On Tuesday, December 20, at noon, President Michelle Bachelet crossed Moneda St. to see the Eolian Fénix, the solar car developed by Universidad de Chile, which was parked in Plaza de la Constitución, across the street from the presidential palace. The president acknowledged the work carried out by students of the Engineering and Design faculties at Universidad de Chile since 2007. Approximately 20 of the 50 students participating in the Eolian team took the car to La Moneda and waited for the president along with the Minister of Energy, Andrés Rebolledo, Universidad de Chile’s prorector, Rafael Epstein, the dean of UCH’s Physical Sciences and Math Faculty, Patricio Aceituno, the president of Conicyt, Mario Hamuy, and the head of SERC Chile and one of the founders of the project, Rodrigo Palma.
Bachelet started her speech by wishing the team a great success on the Eolian’s 2,000 kilometer journey to Arica, which will start on January 9. The experience will work as preparation for the World Solar Challenge, to take place in Australia in October 2017.
The president stated: “Your success is also the success of an entire country that aspires to become a leading nation in renewable energy and that is still moving forward in that sense, both in the public and private sectors. Universities are, of course, an essential part of this road”.
The dean of the FCFM-UCH, Patricio Aceituno, highlighted Universidad de Chile as an institution “capable of undertaking big challenges” and referred to energy as “the future of the country”.
“Here are the representatives of Chilean youth, icons of what the country’s youth should be, undertaking matters of national importance and proving that solar energy is the future of the country”, he concluded.
When finishing the ceremony, Bachelet talked to the students of the FCFM-UCH and asked them questions about the car, listened to their opinions and took a “selfie” with them. She also spoke to them about an experience she had in India, in a project that trained illiterate women on how to mount solar cells. “We could repeat that here”, she suggested.