Updated: Jul 15
The most innovative sports challenge is back to Monaco, between high technology, new generations and sustainability. The 10th edition of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, from the 5th until the 8th July 2023, marked a real 'clean energy' record involving thirty-one participating universities, fifty performing teams coming from twenty-five different countries. A total group of about five hundred academic students animated various stages of this unique event under the umbrella of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Gouvernement Princier. Making the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) a 'floating' hub of innovation and proactive synergies in the field of nautical engineering.
Sustainability policies are increasingly being developed by the YCM that has recently been equipped by a system of flexible solar fabrics (notably, solar cloth), to improve energy efficiency in major nautical activities together with an incoming hydrogen production plant by SBM Offshore and a series of photovoltaic panels to reinforce dependency on renewable energy and recharge the SBM E-Racing Team. Thanks to the partnership with SMEG, the Monegasque Electricity and Gas Company, all energy provided will be fed in the YCM's grid (note: complex power generation, transmission, and distribution network from producers to consumers).
Also in this edition, most teams showed a high level of technology and performance, throughout the duration of the event, including a hard test Friday for the strong winds in the open sea. Uniboat by Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna reached the podium in the Energy Class category for the third time running. A great satisfaction for the whole team led by Federico Vanzini who pointed out the achievement of a totally reliable high-tech that succeeded the well established Greek Oceanos Ntua from the Nautical Technical University of Athens. third place in the category went to UniGenova, at their debut in the competition. UniGenova by the University of Genoa (Italy) was awarded the third prize as well as the ‘Eco conception Prize’. The Italian team from Genova was also awarded the ‘Eco conception price’. The winning Bolognese vessel, "Futura", proved to be an excellent example of innovation, being empowered by 'Adas', an advanced camera set able to detect objects at sea while enabling a self driving system.
In the Solar Class category, devoted to solar energy propulsion, the Netherlands have shown their supremacy. Sunflare team prevailed for the fifth time after leading the rankings since the very beginning thanks to their innovative conception of solar equipment on board the vessel making it lighter than usual to encourage a higher speed in view of even more performing batteries to be used in the near future.
Official Video Final Video 🎥 © Yacht Club de Monaco
To get your adrenaline pumping the Open Sea Class was the highlight. The 16-nautical-mile rally between Monaco and Cala del Forte port in Ventimiglia (Italy) allowed the participants able to recharge their vessels in the new Monegasque yachting harbour on the Italian territory.
The 4th edition of the Monaco Hydrogen Group Round Table, held at the Yacht Club de Monaco on the 7th July 2023 was an opportunity to make the point on emerging hydrogen-technologies applied to the yachting sector to decarbonise marine transports. The rendezvous, sponsored by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Monaco Energy Transition Mission, gathered main players of the whole supply chain, notably: public authorities, classification bodies, generator developers, engine manufacturers, naval architects and shipyards.
Hydrogen is increasingly used as yachting fuel thanks to the development of technological knowledge and a closer cooperation among parties involved from both the public and the private sector, as stressed by Anne-Marie Perez, Director of Capénergies, one of the most performing clusters in Souht of France. According to most recent statistics, hydrogen market has a great potential for several uses involving a wide range of economic branches, as reaffirmed by Paul Lucchese, Chair of the International Energy Agency's Hydrogen TCP (Technology Collaboration Programme). As a matter of fact, the ammonia and methanol transforming processes are reaching advanced standards of operation. On battery front, their durability, efficiency and reliability is moving forward giving a glimpse of hope for empowering hydrogen 'fuels'. Martin Camus, Marine Hydrogen Project Coordinator at LMG Marin, expressed full optimism on the matter.
Manufacturing electric-hydrogen generators is still under way but steps have been taken forward developing the existing knowledge (MEB batteries equipped with a polymer or metal membrane) to give life to integrated solutions. Some gaps are still delaying the shift with special regard to hydrogen storage, lack of refuelling infrastructure and a slow course of application as for the regulatory framework. Hydrogen technologies are still dependant to other bio fuels that are not available in sufficient quantities to serve the global yachting market. The challenges are still many but this must not lower our guard and interest in developing new engineering solutions to offer a valid alternative to business-as-usual fossil-fuel yachting.
The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge renewed its mentoring and tutoring soul providing a series of job meetings with the yachting industry addressed to engineering students, B2B sessions for investors as well as a unique rendezvous with Boris Hermann, the most popular skipper of Monaco's Team Malizia that has recently celebrated in Genoa an outstanding outcome reaching the podium at the finish line of the Ocean Race, the toughest existing sailing regatta, worldwide.
The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge is therefore acting as a privileged stage to showcase the latest technology exploiting renewable energy for yachting resulting from the win-win liaison between senior experts & university professors and he next generation. The perfect mix to best develop the theme 'Sustainability Transition: Challenge, Engagement, Adoption'. ***
By Maurice Abbati
Springer International Publishing