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Hydrogen to take centre stage at the 2021 Monaco Energy Boat Challenge

10 May 2021By Ria Wolstenholme

The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge will return to the French Riviera in July after travel restrictions saw the 2020 edition held as a virtual event. Preparations are already well underway in the principality, and this year, hydrogen power is set to take centre stage.

Imagery courtesy of Yacht Club de Monaco Carlo Borlenghi

So far, eight teams have announced the use of hydrogen to power their projects, including the SBM Offshore E-Racing Team which won the Innovation Prize in 2019 and the Eco Conception Prize last year.

During the event, a round table will also be held in partnership with the Prince Albert II Foundation and Energy Transition Mission to discuss the possibilities of hydrogen and its potential in the maritime sector. “Hydrogen is the only energy we can consider," says economist and ecologist Gunter Pauli. "Its performance compared to a battery or to a diesel engine, even compared to electricity (…), hydrogen surpasses them all”. 

The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge is a five-day event that sees students and yachting industry professionals alike develop environmentally-friendly propulsion systems across three different classes: the Energy Class, Solar Class and Open Sea Class. 

Across the classes, 31 teams, 24 universities and 17 nationalities have already confirmed their participation. With just 60 days to go, industry professionals and new generation engineers are getting ready to unveil their prototypes.

The Solar Class, as its name suggests, is open to yachts powered only by solar energy with 15 entries set to compete this year. The Solar Class will battle it out in one-on-one races, a slalom course and endurance races, all of which are designed to push the teams, and their boats, to the limit.

The Open Sea class – previously known as the Offshore Class – is open mainly to vessels already on the market. The Class will challenge the yacht’s autonomy during a 16 nautical mile race from Monaco to Ventimiglia in Italy, an endurance course and a manoeuvrability challenge.

And finally, the Energy Class, which will see 17 competitors, including the SBM Offshore E-Racing Team, facing off in catamaran hulls supplied by the Monaco Yacht Club. All teams are restricted to the same quantity of energy and the same hull form, but have the freedom to select a renewable energy source and design a propulsion system. 

Set to take place from July 6-10, the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge is organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco in collaboration with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and International Powerboating Federation.