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In Monaco the Energy Boat Challenge to create the future of boating

Young engineers and industry professionals meet in an exhibition hall that welcomes startups and companies

By Martina Coppola

It’s an opportunity to create the yachting world of the future. The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, staged for the ninth year at the Monaco Yacht Club as part of the Monaco Capital of Advanced Yachting initiative. As the Principality heads toward the goal of zero emissions by 2050, competitors are developing carbon free engines to create a green yachting industry.

Young engineers and industry professionals meet in an exhibition hall that welcomes startups and companies dedicated to addressing the environmental challenges of our century. The conference, held through July 9, combines innovation and sustainability with competitions at sea, conferences and round tables, talks and forums.

The competition pits against one another 38 teams from 27 different universities from around twenty countries around the world including France, Indonesia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Peru, China and Canada. Among the competitions scheduled are ‘Class Energy’, which sees 16 teams of 11 nationalities compete to design a zero-emission drive system for catamarans and ‘Class Solar’, dedicated to solar power.

“At the beginning, in 2014, in the race there were only boats powered by solar energy, but since we are the capital of advanced yachting here in Monaco we have added the category ‘Class energy ‘, in which boats powered by the most varied types of engines from hydrogen to batteries compete, and we will also see new ideas such as energy obtained from compressed air and kinetic energy,” Jeremie Lagarrigue, president of the jury of the event, explained to LaPresse.

“The peculiarity in this case is that all the teams start from the same basic hull which they can then ‘feed’ with an engine of their choice,” said Lagarrigue. Two days of preparation lead to the races and then reach the final on Saturday. There are also two types of competitions: one on a long-distance course and the other for speed. Among the Italian companies competing is the University of Bologna with the Uniboat team, winner of the race last year.

“Uniboat is a project where students apply their skills learned in the course of study to develop the boat, which is called Futura, powered by 3 energy sources: solar, battery and hydrogen,” says Leonardo Mengozzi of the Uniboat team. “Our catamaran,” explains Marylin Gilbert, “has a hybrid propulsion system: two lithium batteries recharged at the start of the race and then gradually recharged via a fuel cell (hydrogen fuel cell). Then there are five solar panels that power two electric motors and two 3D printed propellers.” To complete the categories is the Open Sea class, mainly open to exhibitors of the YCM Marina and units already on the market or ready to enter.

As for the debates, however, the conference, “The energy transition in yachting: opportunities and limits,” will be held on Thursday 7 July, while on Friday 8 July there will be the third edition of the round table of the Monaco Hydrogen Working Group, entitled. “Unblocking obstacles to hydrogen in the maritime sector: port regulation and economic feasibility of projects.”

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