QUT alumni on track for solar racing success

First published 7 January 2020

Clenergy TeamArrow is Australia’s premier solar racing team. The team includes past World Solar Challenge participants, engineers, technicians, designers and mechanics – and 6 out of 7 from the management team are past QUT students.

TeamArrow first entered the World Solar Challenge in 2013, claiming pole position and placing seventh overall – the highest Australian placing team in the Challenger class. They went on to enter the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, where they placed eighth, again the highest placing Australian team. In 2017 the team placed third in the RACV Cruiser Class.

These competitions encourage the development of world-class Australian technologies, many of which have made their way from previous challenges in to consumer motoring products.

We spoke to Anthony Prior, who graduated from QUT in 2005 with an MBA, and now works as the Treasurer of Clenergy TeamArrow.

Tell us about TeamArrow

I was one of the founding members in 2013. We decided to form Team Arrow as at the time it sounded like a crazy impossible idea that might just have legs. It’s challenged me outside of my current job and allowed me to get back into hands on work and expand my skills.

What’s it like working with other QUT alumni?

While we’re open to any person who wishes to join, the majority of our team is from QUT. We’ve found that QUT provides students with immediately usable skills which allow them to hit the ground running as they start their projects.

This also gives us a shared base to work from as we all know the resources and people in QUT who can provide assistance. This provides a solid network which allows us to work closely with QUT in a mutually beneficial way.

What are some of the projects you’re working on?

Recently we’ve spun out a start-up, Prohelion, which seeks to commercialise some of the developments we’ve made in the course of building batteries and solar electric systems for Team Arrow. Again, the team is made up entirely of QUT graduates with a variety of management and technical skills. The diversity and depth of skills the team holds allow us to move forward quickly and nimbly with a small team.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give current students based on your university experiences?

Go into your studies with a genuine desire to learn and you will find yourself seeking answers beyond the set curriculum. Follow these up as this is where real insight comes from.