A 7th edition reinvented

It may have been forced to change format for the first time since its launch in 2014, but this summer’s Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge will go ahead – online – as exchanges on Open Source between participants is one of the building blocks on which this event focused on innovative propulsion systems has been built.

 A first-ever “virtual” competition that fully respects health policies around the world, as YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri explains: “Given the situation and to continue supporting the hard work already put in by teams, we felt we had to adapt. With all the uncertainty, we are not able to host a conventional event for the public. Last year, we had over a thousand visitors through the village and 350 participants. We had to find a solution to keep it going without contravening the guidelines.”

 

Organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco alongside the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and International Powerboating Federation, for seven years this unique event has focused on zero emission propulsion, bringing together researchers, academics, future engineers, inventors, and yachting and energy professionals. All share the same ambition to develop alternative propulsion systems to build the future of yachting.

 

Adapting to current events

In consultation with Iqos and long-time partners Credit Suisse, and BMW and Yachting Partners International who are supporting this year’s event, the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge has opted for a virtual version, exploiting modern communication resources to ensure a quality meeting.

Participants in the three classes – Solar, Energy Class and Open Sea – have until 31st May to submit a presentation of their project to a Technical Jury of professionals, key players in the industry and partners. Each team then has an opportunity to defend their work in an oral interview organised between 30th June and 4th July, before an online awards ceremony on Saturday evening.

 

Three awards

There are three awards. An Innovation Prize for the most advanced improvements of visionary and relevant innovations, the aim being to promote systems that can be adapted to meet the sector’s requirements from a production and pricing point of view. Candidates also have to prepare a written presentation of their project supported by photos, sketches or videos, plus a critical analysis of the advantages and disadvantages. Their conclusions should be based on tests carried out to prove the efficiency of the boat and its clean energy fuel source.

The Eco Conception Prize puts the spotlight not only on the efficiency of the materials and processes used, but also its contribution to science and the teams’ commitment to sharing good practices. Participation in a collaborative approach, preventive actions, the boat’s performance and reduced impact on the environment are key cornerstones of the project in this category, which also requires a written presentation and analysis to be submitted as above.

Finally, the Spirit Prize reflects the spirit of the competition by rewarding participants for originality in how they present their work, the team, their boat, how it evolved and the technical work achieved over the past few months.

The winners in each of the three categories (all classes combined) will receive a cheque for €2,000.

 

Significant advances

Be it improved battery design, solar panels or employing biomimetics to replace the propellers on a boat to imitate the way fish swim, these are just some of the advances made at the last edition. And bets are on that this year will see many more new discoveries and technical feats unveiled.

 

Exchanges all year round

Living up to its reputation as ‘Capital of Yachting’, Monaco is positioning itself as an incubator of new ideas in this field, as evidenced by the year-round webinars, free online technical discussions chaired by professionals and open to all. These meetings (five held so far) provide a valuable link between the industry and contestants, giving them access to new information to feed into their experience.

This series of virtual conferences kicked off with a focus on the evolution of ship design and engineering chaired by Simon Brealey (Lateral Naval Architecture), in particular the current specific needs of superyachts in this sector.

Erwan Grossmann (Kairos) then reviewed bio-composites production and their environmental impact. A relevant debate not only to highlight the general and mechanical properties of these fibres, resins and alternative base materials but also to understand how they can influence the evolution of yacht design.

While these sessions discuss the issues, they are also a chance to talk to the experts, people like Jérémie Lagarrigue (Energy Observer) who answered numerous questions relating to the Energy Class, and Franziska Steidle-Sailer and Christine Funck (Aquon) who redefined sustainable yachting.

At the webinar on 30th April, marine propulsion completed a non-exhaustive list of topics. There was talk of an energy-consuming, dangerous, costly, noisy propeller, so many black marks against current systems that a solution has to be found. That is according to Harold Guillemin (FinX) who gave an update on progress being made with biomimetic technology that could replace it with compact ever-more efficient membranes.

 

 

Job Forum: unrivalled pool of talent for the industry

Launched in 2019, the Job Forum is proving an excellent opportunity for students and nautical sector professionals to stay in touch all year round via this online platform. Potential employers can post vacancies on it and students their CVs and letter of motivation. A win-win situation for both sides: for example, in 2019 Energy Observer representatives interviewed 15 students, going on to hire eight of them, with a similar scenario for Torqeedo and Azura Marine.

 

Local companies have their working group

At YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri’s instigation, a commission dedicated to alternative energy sources was set up in September 2019. The initiative is part of a move to become a Yachting Centre of Excellence with a mission to motivate those involved in the sector, be they Monegasque (Laneva) or operating locally (Vita, Candela, Suncv…), to join forces on innovative projects. Brought together in a working group that meets every two months, the commission discusses new developments and potential synergies. At their last meeting, for example, Vita announced the launch of a new Vita Supercharger that could be adapted to suit other boats.

For yachting fans the meeting is still on, behind computer screens, from 30th June to 4th July 2020, lifting the veil on what’s new at this highly anticipated 7th Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge.

 

Le rendez-vous est donc maintenu pour les passionnés de yachting qui se retrouveront derrière leurs écrans du 30 juin au 4 juillet 2020 pour lever le voile sur toutes les nouveautés de cette 7e et très attendue édition du Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge.

 

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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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New yacht propulsion systems unveiled and trialled in Monaco

At the end of Monaco Ocean Week, on protecting the oceans, the Yacht Club de Monaco unveiled key themes of the 6th Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge.

Organised from 2-6 July 2019, in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and International Powerboating Federation (UIM), this meeting of new technologies and discussion revives a tradition for engine innovation that goes back to when the Principality organised the first powerboat meetings in 1904.

 

Launched in 2014, this unique event open to the public and supported by Credit Suisse and SBM Offshore, brings together three categories of motorboat in the Solar, Offshore and Energy Classes. The aim is to leave the field open to the creativity of young engineers, working with experienced manufacturers, to design and develop alternative propulsion systems for yachts, using only clean energy sources.

As well as the races, the 40-plus international teams of students and professionals will share the progress they are making on clean energy systems at daily Tech Talks on Open Source.

 

They are tackling a big challenge to meet the future energy and environmental imperatives for marine-based industries.

 

“As concerns are growing for the future of our planet, we think it’s essential the yachting sector embrace clean energy sources to cut greenhouse gas emissions, in line with commitments undertaken by States during the Paris Agreement. Convinced that one must lead by example, and as an integral part of our Monaco: Capital of Yachting project, we want to prick people’s consciences, and assist and support these young engineers who I find are very concerned with environmental issues,” comments Yacht Club de Monaco General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri.

 

 

Solar Class: Sun still in its firmament

 

Present from the start and at every edition since 2014, the Solar Class sees around 20 entrants competing, each boat as inventive as the other, with speeds averaging up to 20 knots.

“The technology is absolutely incredible: you have race-boats, including highly competitive ones using foils which rise right up out of the water. There’s no noise, no pollution, no fuel, you’re really in harmony with nature and at the same time you have all the suspense of true competition. I think we really need to demonstrate where the latest technology is leading us: it’s taking us a long way – in the right direction,” says Bertrand Piccard, co-founder of Solar Impulse and the Solar Class sponsor.

 

 

Energy Class: hydrogen takes centre stage

 

The Energy Class is a new category, introduced by the YCM in 2018 to compare solutions (electricity, hydrogen, etc.).  The challenge for students working with industry is to design the most powerful and durable propulsion system using clean energy sources to power one-design catamaran hulls supplied by the YCM. For 2019, it seems hydrogen is the most popular choice, as out of eight boats registered to date, three are working on this as a solution: SBM Offshore E-Racing Team (Monaco), HEIG VDI (Switzerland) and Hydrogad’z from Arts et Métiers (France).

“SBM Offshore has been investing in renewable energy at sea for many years. We are very proud to be associated with the Yacht Club de Monaco for this 6th Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge, and to see our young engineers putting all their talent and energy into this great venture,” says Didier Beynet, Monaco Country Director for SBM Offshore.

 

 

This option has been given a big boost by Energy Observer, the first hydrogen-powered vessel aiming to be totally autonomous, with no greenhouse gas or fine particulate emissions. An Ambassador of the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge during her ports of call, Energy Observer was keen to make available an engineer to support students in their preparations and throughout the event.

 

 

Offshore Class: proving by example

 

Competing over a distance of 36 nautical miles (67km) without fossil fuels? Yes it is possible! At the same time as the races in Monaco Bay, two offshore races are proposed from Monaco to Ventimiglia. While the two harbours are set to be interconnected soon, this race serves as a field trial for users of new energy sources. It is for example an opportunity to put the new generation of electric tenders, developed by the yachting industry, through their paces in conditions they can expect to face in the future.

“The aim of this event is to highlight the enormous potential of our young engineers supported by the shipyards. We have a common goal, which is to work together to build the leisure boats of tomorrow,” explains engineer Marco Casiraghi, who initiated this particular project.

 

 

ZERO Emissions goal

 

For the sixth edition, the Yacht Club de Monaco and its partners have thrown down the gauntlet to competitors and the Monegasque community to produce as near to zero emissions as possible throughout the week, by banning all fossil fuels.

 

Ashore and at sea, initiatives to reduce the event’s impact include electric or hydrogen-powered bikes and cars, with recharging of electric vehicles courtesy of the Suncy vessel; eco-friendly gourdes and water fountains to reduce waste; solar ovens, etc. Any initiative will be encouraged and promoted.

 

It is with this in mind that the YCM signed a partnership with Torqeedo, a recognised leader in electric outboard engines to ensure all boats involved in the event’s organisation are 100% electric.

 

 

 

OPEN Source & JOB Dating: sharing knowledge and marrying skills

 

After the success of the Tech Talks and Open Source in 2018, the YCM is keen to expand this aspect of networking and sharing knowledge with talks given by key players in the industry.

 

 

On the programme: two mornings of discussions on the main themes:

  • Environmental challenges & opportunities in the maritime world (Thursday 4th July)
  • Sustainability and energy efficiency in Yachting (Friday 5th July)

 

Finally, to encourage and motivate students in their research, a number of prizes will be awarded by a jury of experts, including an Innovation Prize, Best Tech Talk and Zero Emission Award.

 

Teams from all over the world

Thanks to its original format, the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge’s reputation is spreading among budding engineers, attracting teams from all over the world: for example, the Hydros Team Universitas Indonesia competing in the Energy Class. Other teams are coming to observe with a view to taking part in 2020, such as the Sanya Visun Royal Yacht Club (China) and Dubai’s Rochester Institute of Technology.  It is reassuring to note that for the new generation energy transition is a hot topic all over the planet.

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