The future is being written today

The curtain came down on the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge Saturday 6th July with a prize-giving ceremony rewarding both the competition winners on the water and Tech Talk presentations. It is clear the event was the perfect opportunity to highlight and put into practice solutions for sustainable yachting, the result of years of Research & Development. Organised in partnership with the International Powerboating Federation (UIM) and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the 6th edition of a competition that is unique in the world and which attracted 34 teams (14 nationalities) offers a glimpse of the future in which everyone are winners: researchers, academics, engineering students, and professionals working in the yachting and energy sectors. All are committed to developing and testing credible alternatives to fossil fuels to shape the future of propulsion for the boats of tomorrow.

 

An incubator that puts the spotlight on developments taking place, the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge 2019 is very much in line with the vision of Yacht Club de Monaco President HSH Prince Albert II, who came to meet exhibitors and encourage contestants: “Training and educating our young people, their development, creativity, awareness and involvement are the guarantors of a better future (…). Let us give them a chance, give them all the tools they need to succeed and above all put our trust in them.”

 

Prototypes put to the test

Be it in the Solar, Offshore or Energy classes, competition in the race events was intense. In the solar group that has been here since the start and was best represented with 19 entrants, the Dutch continue to sweep the board with victories for New Nexus (Open Class) and Sunflare (A Class). Note that for the first time since this event was launched in 2014, the solar fleet managed a three-hour non-stop race covering nearly 20 nautical miles (nm) on the sea, evidence of how progress continues to be made with this technology.

In the Offshore Class, the battle for top spots was between students in the TU Delft Solar Boat Team and yachting professionals in the Vita Yachts team. The Scots won the 16nm endurance race, while tomorrow’s engineers from the Netherlands clinched victory in the 32nm Long Race with a focus on maintaining their machine’s range and not speed.

Launched only last year, the Energy Class proved very popular with seven entrants responding to a challenge to design the most powerful and durable propulsion system for a standard catamaran hull supplied by the YCM. Victory went to the French Wave ESTACA Team, who dominated all the contests – endurance race, slalom and match race.

 

 

A meeting at the service of innovation

With over 400 competitors, exhibitors and speakers, and an estimated thousand visitors over the four days, the event demonstrated the importance of sharing expertise and lessons learned, a brainstorming of ideas which is at the heart of any successful innovation. As YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri explains: “The Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge is contributing to the thinking on yachting’s future. Through this event and as part of the project to make Monaco a yachting capital, the Principality is providing a crossroads for experiments of the industry, engineers, boatyards, students and owners in their bid to meet the energy and environmental challenges facing the nautical sector.”
And with concrete results – for while hydrogen appears set to become an effective alternative of choice, solar energy has a role to play, while hybrid solutions are also proving their worth as evidenced by SBM Offshore, whose largest location is in Monaco employing around 900 people. Supported by the whole company, their thermo-electric project using hydrogen as the energy source was one of the novelties of this edition and has a promising future: heat generated by the fuel cell is deployed in an optimal way to supply the battery that is approaching a record 60% efficiency. The prototype was awarded the Credit Suisse Innovation Prize.

With a dozen teams already signed up in the Energy category for 2020, including one from the Visun Royal Yacht Club in China, no doubt their prototype will face tougher competition.

 

 

Promises of employment

Organisers were also delighted by the yachting industry’s involvement, such as that of German boatyard Nobiskrug participating for the first time. The company has already promised to return next year and was able to meet potential employees. It was the same for Torqeedo, which supplied a fleet of electric tenders for the event, and Energy Observer who identified profiles of engineers. In total, around 20 young people may have found employment through this event, another concrete result, this time for the ‘Job Dating’ initiative launched this year by the Yacht Club de Monaco and which will continue all year round.

 

Progress shared

A key objective of the Challenge with the end-of-day Tech Talks is to give teams an opportunity to present their project, to outline their approach including problems encountered and how they overcame them. It is a real source of inspiration where everyone can benefit from each other’s experience on Open Source and continue to improve their prototype. Maybe one day they will be here as an exhibitor, like the start-up FinX with its electric biomimetic membrane, based on the way fish use their fins to swim, and designed to replace boat propellers.

At the same time, among talks given at the conferences, the one by Professor Paolo Schinto from the Politecnico di Milano university made a mark, as his team is working on the reuse and recycling of Lithium-Ion batteries. According to the Professor, within just over five years improvements in the cost of production and battery life combined will make electric vehicles more economical than traditional fossil fuel – whether the energy converted into electricity is reusable or not. An analysis that will certainly have pleased Toyota which had supplied its hydrogen Mira cars.

 

Yacht Club de Monaco leads the way

Yacht Club de Monaco leads the way
Faced with these environmental challenges, the Yacht Club de Monaco took advantage of the event to announce launch of its future Zero Emission Committee Boat for regattas and events organised all year round by the Club. A 100% eco-friendly catamaran has been designed by naval architect Espen Oeino, with the engineering aspects by Dario Calzavara (Terra Modena) who contributed to the design of the Anvera Elab prototype at this competition. As it will be so quiet and with no carbon emissions, it has been designed with a second task in mind: whale watching off the Principality.

When words combine with actions, the future can indeed be written today.

 

Winners of the 6th edition of the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge

Energy Class: Wave ESTACA (France)
Offshore Class, Long Race: TU Delft Solar Boat Team (Netherlands)
Offshore Class, Endurance Race: VITA Yachts (Scotland)
Solar Open Class: New Nexus (Netherlands)
Solar A-Class: Sunflare (Netherlands)
Speed Record: Anvera Elab (Italy)? 74.49 km/hr,
beating the previous record set in 2016 of 49.10 km/hr
Innovation Prize: SBM Offshore (Monaco)
Best Tech Talk Prize: Solar Boat Twente (Pays-Bas)
Communication Prize: HydroVinci (France)
Spirit Prize: Team Indonesia

 

Next edition: 30 June-4 July 2020

Plus d’infos sur www.mcsebc.org

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Yacht Club de Monaco launch Zero Emission Committee Boat

This morning at the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge (2-6 July), in the presence of Yacht Club de Monaco President HSH Prince Albert II, the YCM’s General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri announced construction of a Zero Emission Committee Boat for all the regattas organised by the Club. Naval architect Espen Oeino has designed the hull and structure, with Dario Calzavara (Terra Modena) responsible for the engineering on this 100% eco-friendly catamaran. As it will be quiet with no carbon emissions, it has been designed with a second function in mind: whale watching excursions from the Principality.

 

“The Yacht Club de Monaco already has three electric tenders used by the Sports Section when supervising children for sailing lessons and organising our nautical events. But this Committee Boat is part of a much more ambitious holistic project by the Yacht Club de Monaco. It is a truly unique initiative to design a boat with a complex specification regards stability, weight, safety, power and speed for a vessel with a length of 11m and beam of 6m. If we want to position ourselves as one of the world’s capitals of yachting, we must take the lead and propose concrete solutions,” explains Bernard d’Alessandri.

 

The aluminium construction (which is easily recycled) will employ a combination of solutions for propulsion. Initially designed to operate on solar energy, it could also integrate a hydrogen system and vertical sails to increase its range, and any new propulsion solutions that arise to make it as quiet as possible. Worth noting that marine animals can experience noise at frequencies above 1kHz, and that most small boats emit frequencies up to 40kHz.

 

True to its stated objective to set an example given the challenges that the environment faces today, launch of the building of this new Committee Boat by the Yacht Club de Monaco is very much in line with work being done by engineers of the future participating in the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge. They too are hoping that one day their initiatives will be taken on board by everyone in the boating sector.

 

The Sovereign took the opportunity to visit the paddocks and meet some of the students from the 22 engineering colleges in 30+ teams taking part n the competition.

 

After encouraging the two Monegasque teams, SBM Offshore and Lanéva, he toured the exhibition area to meet the exhibitors, companies like FinX, Torqeedo, Energy Observer and Nautical High Tech, all offering innovative propulsion systems to propel yachting into a new cleaner greener era.

 

The Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge ends tomorrow with more contests on the water that can be viewed from the main harbour wall and free access to the boat paddocks along the quays of the YCM.

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Time for competition

On and off the water, the third day of the 6th Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge was one of pent-up excitement and constructive discussion, with qualification races taking place in the harbour and the first of three conferences in the Club.

 

 

The quays were buzzing with activity as the third day of the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge got underway. All the competition teams were out in force, checking final details of their boat before lowering them into the YCM Marina for the first time. At 10.00am every driver was behind the controls of their prototype for the Grand Parade that kicked off proceedings.

It was an important occasion for participants as it was an opportunity to show off their project but also fine-tune their machines on water before the qualifying heats in the afternoon. The parade started in the harbour before the prototypes headed out to the race area to familiarise themselves with the course, then turned in front of the Oceanographic Museum. For spectators the parade was a chance to see the different classes in action together – Solar, Energy and Offshore – and soak up the ambiance of the event.

 

Meanwhile ashore the first conference took place: “Sustainable management and development within the maritime environment”.  It was an excellent opportunity to show what solutions are on offer, what needs to be done, and present approaches being taken to meet challenges facing the environment, the principle idea emerging that each project must be part of a global approach to have a really positive impact. Setting the scene was the first speaker, Georgina Grenon, Director of Environmental Excellence for the 2024 Paris Olympics who outlined what the Organising Committee has planned upfront to ensure the Olympics are a model of sustainable development. They include proximity of each sport within the city and re-appropriation of existing venues to attain a key objective to be carbon neutral. Marco Casiraghi, an engineer and driving force behind the event, closed the conference with a telling comment: “An observation can be made that the means exist today to make our world a better place”.

 

After lunch the qualifying sessions started in earnest. Teams in the Energy Class and Solar Class had 90 minutes to do laps of a closed 0.5nm circuit and clock-up the fastest time for one lap. In the Energy Class it was the French ESTACA team with a lap-time of 1’49 and in the Solar Class the German Hochschule Emden-Leer team in 2’22 who came out on top (see results table). The qualifying race determines the pairs who will go head to head in the match race on Saturday.

 

While the races were going on, Energy Observer held a press conference to present Energy Observer Developments, a start-up whose main goal is to deploy clean hydrogen particularly in the maritime sector and develop other areas.

 

The day ended with Tech Talks, when teams can present their projects to their peers, before relaxing at Happy Hour. Awaiting them tomorrow are the Fleet Race, an Endurance Race and Speed Record, but for now those who came out top of the ranking are savouring the moment.

 

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