10th Monaco Energy Boat Challenge attracts more shipyards into energy transition conversation

10 July 2023 • by Katia Damborsky

A growing number of leading shipyards – including Oceanco, Ferretti Group, Monaco Marine, Sanlorenzo, Lürssen and Palumbo SY Refit – participated in this year’s Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, which tasks students from around the world to develop small boat prototypes powered by sustainable fuels. Bernard d’Alessandri, general secretary of the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) called the increased presence of shipyards a “positive signal” in the push towards alternative energy sources for the yachting sector.

The event, which was held between 5 - 8 July, was organised as part of the YCM’s Capital of Advanced Yachting initiative. The prototype boats were raced in the waters of Monaco across two different categories - Energy and Solar. There was a third category, Open Sea Class, for non-university teams also using electric propulsion.

In the end, Uniboat team from Italy topped the Energy Class for the third year in a row, while in the Solar Class the Dutch Sunflare Team Veolia continued to dominate. In the Open Sea Class, TU Delft Hydromotion Team (Netherlands) was the overall winner.

The event included a number of conferences and panels

Paris Baloumis, CMO of Oceanco said the event was "critical" for supporting new ideas and developing new technologies and innovations. "The event is a large-scale laboratory test case," added Baloumis. The yard donated a fuel cell to one of the participating teams Nereides and Oceanco's R&D team remained on hand for mentoring and supporting the team before and during the course of the event.

Alongside the university teams, the event also hosted the YCM E-Boat Rally specifically for electric boats. For the first time, the event used a dedicated eco-designed E-dock set-up in collaboration with Aqua superPower. The rally saw 15 electric boats travel a 21-nautical mile distance between Monaco and Ventimiglia and back. Ferretti Group entered its Riva electric prototype El-Iseo into the rally, while Vita had several electric models participating, including its seven-metre Seal and 5.5-metre SeaDog.

The prototype boats were raced across two categories

On land, the programme saw a number of panels and presentations from key players across the yachting sector, including Paolo Bertetti, vice president of R&D at Sanlorenzo. Speaking on the penultimate day of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, he said that the “winning solution” must take owners and captains into consideration, as well as yards and engine manufacturers. “Hydrogen is a potential pivot for a revolution,” he said, but “teamwork is essential”.

Overall, the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge saw 50 teams representing 31 universities and 25 nations. This year also saw an increase in the use of recycled or biodegradable materials, according to Jérémie Lagarrigue, president of the international Jury and CEO of EODev.

Riva's El-Iseo participated in the E-Rally between Monaco and Ventimiglia

The Monaco Advanced Capital of Yachting initiative includes a broad programme of events designed to facilitate conversation and solutions for vessels, infrastructure and people working in the superyacht sector.  The next event will be the third Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, held between 24 - 25 September 2023, just before the Monaco Classic Week (13-16 September 2023), the YCM gathering of Classic Yachting.