New generation and yachting industry drives future for propulsion

The clock is ticking down for participants in the 6th Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge! From 2-6 July, 33 teams will be descending on Monaco from all over the world to compete in this unique competition, including 22 universities, to imagine and build the future of yachting.

As well as contests in the bay, the Yacht Club de Monaco intends to showcase innovations and bring industry and young engineers together at conferences, Tech Talks and a village in the middle of the boat paddocks which will be open to the public.

 

In the wake of the first powerboat meetings held in Monaco in 1904, the YCM, in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and International Powerboating Federation (UIM), has left the field wide open to the creativity of young engineers. Working with experienced manufacturers their aim is to design and develop alternative propulsion systems for yachts, using only renewable energy sources.

 

 

Young engineers and professionals in the starting-blocks

This year 33 teams representing 14 nationalities, from all over Europe and for the first time from Indonesia, are set to take on this challenge. There will be 18 boats in the Solar Class, eight in the Energy Class and seven in the Offshore Class, with over 211 students from renowned universities and colleges like the Art et Métiers d’Aix University in Provence (France) and the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) taking part.

 

SOLAR Class: Develop a solar vision in the maritime world

Competing at every edition since the first one held in 2014, boats in the Solar Class will be involved in match racing, slalom and endurance races.

 

 

OFFSHORE Class: Focus on the new Yachting Industry

At the same time as races take place in the bay of Monaco, Offshore boats will be competing between the Principality and Ventimiglia, Italy, in two events: a 16nm (25km) endurance race and a second 36nm (67km) event.

“This year we decided to include a second, more demanding endurance race, as these boats are becoming increasingly competitive and we wanted to encourage them to improve their performance! With this event, we want to demonstrate that it is already possible to go by sea between these two harbours without fossil fuel on boats built to be sold as a series,” explains Marco Casiraghi, the man behind this project.

It will be a real test for power boats with an eco-responsible propulsion that are already marketed or are in development.

 

ENERGY Class: Build the future of propulsion

In the new Energy Class, introduced in 2018 by the YCM — which supplies each team with the same hull design — the challenge for students, working with industry partners, is to design the most powerful and durable propulsion system using a clean energy source of their choice, from a given quantity of energy.

A laboratory of innovation, many and varied avenues have been pursued for this 2019 edition, from fuel cells to recovering heat to improve efficiency, and artificial intelligence.

It’s very encouraging to note that the future of our planet is mobilising all generations, in all countries and all sectors. It proves attitudes are changing and that they share a common interest in environmental issues,” says YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri.

 As well as the on-water events, the Yacht Club de Monaco invites the industry to reflect on the challenges posed to achieve sustainable development in the yachting sector.  

 

 

Tech Talks and Conferences to discuss in Open source and improve knowledge

 

Keen as ever to encourage information exchange, all participants have a chance to pitch their project during daily Tech Talks that are open to the public. A jury of experts will award a number of prizes, including the Zero Emission Award and the Innovation Prize from Credit Suisse which has offered to help the winning team put together a business plan.

 

“It seems to us important to support these students in developing their project. For it to become reality, Credit Suisse wants to use their expertise to help them devise a business plan before they can take it on to the next crucial phase which is to get funding,” explains Rosa Sangiorgio, Head of Sustainability and Impact Investing – Investment Management at Credit Suisse.

 

There will also be two half-days of conferences primarily intended for professionals:

 

  • 4th July: Sustainable management & development within the maritime sector
  • 5th July: Sustainable development and energy efficiency in yachting

And the 3rd UIM Workshop (International Powerboating Federation) on 6th July

 

The conferences are an opportunity for experts to delve deeper into topics such as clean energy, alternative propulsion systems and newbuild efficiency, and discuss latest research findings in the sector. An initiative welcomed by yacht designer and Cluster Yachting Monaco Vice-President Espen Oeino: “It’s a great meeting, as it is only by working together that the industry can move forward. Today, it’s only a question of time before they improve the storage capacity of a battery.”

 

 

Job Dating: a networking platform generating job opportunities 

Keen to expand the networking and sharing knowledge aspects year-round, the YCM has set up an online professional network where the industry can post internships and jobs.

 

 

The ZERO Emission Challenge

In collaboration with Monaco’s Mairie (city council), and convinced of the value of setting an example, 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 during the week. Ashore and at sea, there will be many initiatives to reduce the event’s carbon footprint. With this in mind, the YCM will for example not use any fossil fuel-boats all week.

 

An ambitious technology-focused programme to meet the environmental imperatives and energy needs of the boating and shipping industries, which has attracted attention from people outside the yachting world, like Guy Berryman, bass guitarist for rock group Coldplay who is committed to protecting the environment: “I am delighted to hear that the yachting community is mobilised, as we often talk about research and development in the automobile world but not in aviation and boats”.

 

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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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Clean energy set to propel yachting’s future

Technical advances in 2018

 

Organised in July by the Yacht Club de Monaco, in collaboration with the Hydros Foundation, International Powerboating Federation (UIM) and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge is unique in the world.

More than a century after the first international powerboat meetings were launched in 1904, the YCM is reviving a tradition by leaving the field wide open to innovation and the imaginations of young engineers, working hand in hand with experienced manufacturers. Their goal is to develop alternative propulsion systems, using only clean energy sources to power the yachting of tomorrow. A real technological challenge to meet the energy needs of the leisure boat and shipping industries and the accompanying and environmental prerogatives.

The 5th edition attracted 200 contestants from 12 nationalities, across 30 teams and three categories: Solar Class, Offshore Class and Energy Class (launched in 2018). But it is not just participant numbers that are increasing, but also the scientific progress being made with these new technologies.

 

As well as a range of contests, which saw Clafis Victron Energy Solar Boat Team led by Gerhard van der Schaar win the event again, the YCM wanted to encourage Open Source, a sharing of knowledge and projects via Tech Talks. These daily conference-format meetings for contestants proved very popular with the students, eager to pass on useful information so vital for the industry’s development. With this in mind, the YCM created a group discussion forum on the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge Facebook page , accessible to all and allowing everyone to monitor updates remotely.

Even now, some teams are in a position to offer the market ready to use compact batteries with a 0.12kW per kilo capacity, as well as Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) charge controllers that improve voltaic panel performance to more than 95% by optimising the battery’s charge and prolonging its life.

 

Regards propulsion, there have been interesting improvements in powertrain efficiency, with an L-type propulsion system instead of the standard Z-type yielding outputs of 80% compared to the industry average of 50%. The ultra-compact counter-rotating propellers produce less noise and vibration, as well as offering better controllability and performance. In terms of the power-to-weight ratio of the engine, electric engines available today deliver 13kW for 32kg, while some of the prototypes unveiled at the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge are achieving 30kW for 13kg. As for solar panels, new solar cells are now more flexible.

 

Technical advances in 2018

  • Improved battery efficiency:
    • More compact
    • More capacity: 0.12 kW/kilo
    • Optimised battery charge with MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controllers, improving voltaic panel performance (by +95%)
    • Longer battery life
  • Propulsion developments:
    • Improved L-type propulsion system instead of the standard Z-type yielding outputs of 80% compared to the industry average of 50%
    • Ultra-compact counter-rotating propellers producing less noise and vibration
    • Improved control and efficiency
    • Presentation of prototype electric engines achieving 30kW for 13kg (compared to a power-weight ratio of 13kW for 32kg, the current industry average)
  • Flexible solar panels

More information on the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge Facebook page

Next year for the 6th edition (2-6 July 2019), the focus will be on energy storage which is evolving. Some teams that will line up for the Energy Class events are planning to develop a complete fuel cell that will very quickly become the future new generator on most yachts. Say goodbye not only to vibration and noise but exhaust gases, as only oxygen and water will be in the emissions which means zero pollution.

Now that is a big step forward to the future!

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Big success for 5th edition

 A unique event, the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge was at full throttle for this 5th edition with 200 competitors from 12 nationalities divided into 30 teams in three categories. Organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco since 2014, the meeting is supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Hydros Foundation and International Powerboating Federation (UIM).

 

Engineering students and the industry were here again in Monaco to advance the yachting industry, reminiscent of the first powerboat meetings that brought the world’s industrialists to the Principality over a 100 years ago.

Together they are building the future, laying the foundations and developing projects that are closer than ever to becoming a viable reality. We are working on energy and propulsion systems and I really believe it is here on the Côte d’Azur that we are in the process of re-thinking how we build the boats of tomorrow,” notes YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri.

Taking challenges head-on

To meet energy and environmental challenges facing the leisure boat and shipping industries, the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge continues to evolve, with the launch this year of the Energy Class. Competitors can choose any energy provided its clean; bio-fuel, battery, hydrogen, compressed air, LNG and of course solar power which is what Nicolas Milanesio opted for, the only Monegasque pilot, competing on Monaco & Saint-Tropez.

 

 

Three full days

A packed programme of events was aimed at demonstrating the full potential of these energy sources: the slalom, Endurance Races, speed record and a 16 nautical mile offshore race (Monaco-Ventimiglia-Monaco) won by Britisher David Gray on Vita Yachts in 54 minutes 41 seconds in the Offshore Class.

 

“The aim 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 Marco Casiraghi, himself an engineer and the man behind the project.

 

An indispensable factor of the meeting, the Solar Class (comprising the Open Class and Challenge A Class) had no less than 23 boats in competition, 15 from the Netherlands, the best ambassador of which remains Clafis Victron Energy Solar Boat Team led by Gerhard van der Schaar. Unbeaten since 2014, the Dutch team won this 5th edition in the Open Class and retains his speed record set in 2016 of 49.10 km/h recorded over a distance of one eighth of a nautical mile (231.5m). In Challenge Class A, the team on Sunflare Solarteam led by Gerlof Werkman was on the first step of the podium.

 

As well as the competition on the water, every evening competitors had the opportunity to discuss their projects at Tech Talks and exchange views on Open Source, the goal being to work together to transform the industry.

A date has already been set for the next meeting (6th edition) which will be from 4-6 July 2019. A presentation on the new Energy Class regulations is due to be published on the Yacht Club de Monaco’s website (www.ycm.org) and its Facebook page @yachtclubmonaco, before 1st August 2018.

 

 

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