The Gaza Strip in Palestine has battled diesel and electricity shortages, leading to blackouts that can last up to 12 hours and major transportation challenges. So engineering students Jamal Al Miqaty and Khalid Al Bardawil at Al Azhar University Gaza decided to creatively work around that crippling issue: they designed a solar-powered car.

The 23-year old students designed the prototype for their graduation project. Creating a solar car in the Gaza Strip is more difficult than it would be in other areas of the world. Not only did the students have to work in conditions with limited power, but the DC motors required by the students aren’t available in Gaza. According to Miqaty, no one knows how to build the DC motors. The students had to adapt a different motor to work in the car.

Al Azhar University Gaza lecturer Mazen Abu Amer hopes the solar car will encourage Gazans to look at ways they can use solar power. According to the university, the students also hope to find a way to convert electric cars to run on solar power. Through cars that drive on alternative power, they hope to offer some reprieve to those dealing with the energy crisis faced by their community. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs says Gaza currently does not even receive half of the 470 megawatts of electricity the area needs. (inhabitat)