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Hydrogen-Powered Yachts Will Take Center Stage at the 2021 Monaco Energy Boat Challenge

So far, eight teams have announced their prototypes will feature hydrogen propulsion.

It’s safe to say hydrogen propulsion has exploded in the marine industry, with the eco-friendly alternative taking pride of place in a number of new concepts. Now, yachting enthusiasts will have an opportunity to see the revolutionary green technology in action at this year’s Monaco Energy Boat Challenge.

The annual event, which is now in its eighth year, puts innovative new prototypes to the test via an array of challenging races. While the event held was virtually in 2020, it will return to the French Riviera in July and a haul of hydrogen-powered vessels are poised to take center stage.

Organized by the Yacht Club de Monaco in collaboration with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the International Powerboating Federation, the five-day event tasks students and industry professionals with developing sustainable propulsion systems across three different categories: the Energy Class, Solar Class and Open Sea Class.

Monaco Energy Boat Challenge

The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge will take place from July 6 through 10.  Carlo Borlenghi

So far, 31 teams and 24 universities representing some 17 different nationalities have confirmed their participation. Eight of these teams have also announced their projects will feature hydrogen propulsion. This includes the famed SBM Offshore E-Racing Team, which won the Eco Conception prize last year as well as the Innovation prize in 2019.

“The organizers and participants are writing a new page of history,” Bertrand Piccard, founder of the Solar Impulse Foundation and event patron, said in a statement.

As its moniker implies, the Solar Class comprises yachts powered exclusively by solar energy. The 15 confirmed entrants will face off in both one-on-one and endurance races designed to push the vessels to their limits. The teams will also tackle a tricky slalom course.

Monaco Energy Boat Challenge

So far, 31 teams and 24 universities have confirmed their participation.  Martin Messmer

The Open Sea class, meanwhile, mainly features electric- or hydrogen-powered vessels that are already on the market or about to enter it. Competitors will face several events that will test their vessel’s autonomy, including a 16-nautical-mile race from Monaco to Ventimiglia, a maneuverability challenge and an endurance course.

Lastly, the Energy Class will see 17 teams battle it out in catamaran hulls supplied by the Monaco Yacht Club. Each team will have free rein when it comes to choosing a renewable energy source and propulsion system, though they can only incorporate the same pre-stipulated amount of energy.

During the event, a round table will also be held to examine the possibilities of hydrogen power and its potential applications in the industry at large.

The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge will take place from July 6 through 10, which means there are only 60 or so days to go before we get a glimpse at the yachts of the future.

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