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A Hydrogen-focused Edition for the Solar & Energy Boat Challenge

For this pretty unusual edition, as it was impossible for the international teams to travel, the Yacht Club of Monaco offered contestants a new competition format favoring open source information sharing with online auditions.

Energy Observer is one of its main partners and Jérémie Lagarrigue, CEO of Energy Observer Developments (EODev) and President of the Technical Jury, contributed to the implementation of the Energy Class, whose main goal for competitors is to improve the performance of a vessel based on a fixed amount of energy and an identical boat structure.

The 2020 edition showcased a wealth of innovations

Once again the Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge, which for seven years has promoted alternative motorised boat propulsion initiatives in collaboration with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and International Powerboating Federation, has proved synonymous with innovation and progress in yachting.

Eighteen teams, representing twelve nations, stepped up to present their project online to a Technical Jury comprised of the engineer Marco Casiraghi who initiated the project, Erwann Lebel, naval architect at Espen Oeino International, and Jérémie Lagarrigue.

Divided into 3 classes (Solar, Energy, and Open Sea), most participants entered all three prize categories: The Innovation Prize, The Eco-Conception Prize, and The Spirit Prize.

Eco Conception Prize - SBM Offshore E-Racing Team (Monaco)

The efficiency of the materials and processes used, the scientific contribution, and the candidates' commitment to the sharing of good practices were honored in this category.

Registered in the Energy Class for their second participation, the Monegasque Team had Sustainability at the core of the project, in terms of the lifecycle of the cockpit, the use of different materials as well as the propulsion system.

They opted for hydrogen propulsion using components that met reuse and recycling requirements in a highly technological context. The cockpit was made of aluminum while more than half the mass of its structural components were either recycled or recyclable elements.

Innovation Prize - Técnico Solar Boat (Portugal)

For that Prize, the teams had to submit a written presentation supported by pictures, sketches, or videos, as well as the results of the tests carried out to prove the efficiency of the boat. That prize was won hands down by the Técnico Solar Boat team from Portugal in the Energy Class category.

Inspired by Energy Observer, they stood out for their hydrogen-powered boat concept, using a 5kW fuel cell, and hope, in a near future, to have a system in place to filter seawater for the electrolysis process, itself powered by solar panels, and use the hydrogen produced to power their tailor-made fuel cell.

Spirit Prize - TU Delft Boat Team (The Netherlands)

The Spirit Prize, won by the TU Delft Boat Team, not only reflected the spirit of the competition, but also the originality of presentation in the form of a short video.

The young Dutch engineers brilliantly retraced and illustrated their last months of technical research, and demonstrated great adaptability and solidarity, especially when the Netherlands went into lockdown, which prevented them from making progress as fast as they wanted.

A project showing the importance of team spirit!

Two Special Prizes

Unable to decide between them, the international jury wanted to put under the spotlight and honor two other teams with the ‘Coup de Coeur’ prize.

The first one was awarded to the Hydros Team UI (Indonesia). Already present in Monaco last year, this Indonesian team competed for all three prizes with a boat powered by a battery and solar panels. Winner of the Spirit Prize in 2019, this young team once again demonstrated a commitment to renewable energy solutions that could be applied in Indonesia. A worthy motivation which moved the Technical Jury.

Another very promising project, from Hynova (France), was awarded the second “Coup de Coeur” prize. Participating for the first time in the Open Sea Class, this 40-foot prototype boat is powered by an electric engine, itself powered by hydrogen from a fuel cell. Their objective is to promote hydrogen as a green alternative energy source: an inspiring project that is becoming a reality!

All information are available on the website of the event.