Solar & Energy Boat Challenge: innovation and sustainability in Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge: innovation and sustainability in Monaco
The sixth Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge will see the participation of 22 universities, gathered to imagine and build the future of yachting.... Solar & Energy Boat Challenge: innovation and sustainability in Monaco

The sixth Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge will see the participation of 22 universities, gathered to imagine and build the future of yachting. The Yacht Club de Monaco will offer conferences, Tech Talks, and a village in the middle of the boat paddocks, which will be open to the public.

The YCM, in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, has decided to bring together young engineers and experienced manufacturers, in order to design and develop propulsion systems employing only renewable energy sources.

Solar & Energy Boat Challenge

This year 33 teams came from 14 countries, all over Europe and for the first time from Indonesia. The competition will be divided in three classes: there will be eighteen boats in the Solar Class, eight in the Energy Class and seven in the Offshore Class, with over 211 students from renowned universities and colleges like the Art et Métiers d’Aix University in Provence (France) and the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) taking part.


Competing at every edition since the first one held in 2014, boats in the Solar Class will undertake match racing, slalom, and endurance races.


Offshore boats will be competing between the Principality and Ventimiglia, Italy, in two events: a 16nm (25km) endurance race and a 36nm (67km) event.  This will be a test for power boats with eco-responsible propulsion that are already marketed or are in development.

“This year we decided to include a second, more demanding endurance race, as these boats are becoming increasingly competitive and we wanted to encourage them to improve their performance! With this event, we want to demonstrate that it is already possible to go by sea between these two harbors without fossil fuel on boats built to be sold as a series,” explains Marco Casiraghi, the man behind this project.


In the new Energy Class, introduced in 2018 by the YCM — which supplies each team with the same hull design — the challenge is to design the most powerful and durable propulsion system using a clean energy source of one’s choice, employing a given quantity of energy.

Many and varied possibilities have been pursued during this 2019 edition, from fuel cells to recovering heat to improve efficiency, to the use of artificial intelligence.

It’s very encouraging to note that the future of our planet is mobilising all generations, in all countries and all sectors. It proves attitudes are changing and that they share a common interest in environmental issues,” says YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri.

Solar & Energy Boat Challenge


All participants will have the chance to pitch their projects during daily Tech Talks that are open to the public. A jury of experts will award a number of prizes, including the Zero Emission Award and the Innovation Prize from Credit Suisse, which has offered to help the winning team put together a business plan.

“It’s important for us to support these students in developing their project. For it to become reality, Credit Suisse wants to use their expertise to help them devise a business plan before they can take it on to the next crucial phase which is to get funding,” explains Rosa Sangiorgio, Head of Sustainability and Impact Investing – Investment Management at Credit Suisse.

There will also be two half-days of conferences primarily intended for professionals, regarding sustainable management & development within the maritime sector and energy efficiency in yachting.

An opportunity for experts to delve deeper into topics such as clean energy, alternative propulsion systems, and newbuild efficiency, and discuss the latest research findings in the sector. An initiative welcomed by yacht designer and Cluster Yachting Monaco Vice-President Espen Oeino: “It’s a great meeting, as it is only by working together that the industry can move forward. Today, it’s only a question of time before they improve the storage capacity of a battery.”

A program focused on technology and innovation to meet the environmental imperatives and energy needs of the boating and shipping industries. These topics have attracted attention from people outside the yachting world, like Guy Berryman, bass guitarist for rock group Coldplay,  who is a staunch supporter of environment protection : “I am delighted to hear that the yachting community is mobilized, as we often talk about research and development in the automobile world but not in aviation and boats”.