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Maritimo 2022Mar - S75 LEADERBOARD

Nova Luxe at the Monaco Energy Challenge 2023

by Nova Luxe Yachts 25 Jul 00:57 PDT
Nova Luxe at 2023 Monaco Energy Challenge © Nova Luxe Yachts

Nova Luxe proudly took part in the 2023 Monaco Energy Challenge, where we actively participated in the Job Forum. For those who may be unfamiliar, this event, which began in 2014, primarily caters to students from universities worldwide, engaging in boat racing with non-combustion motors. Each race class has general parameters, granting students significant freedom to design, build, or purchase various boat components. Moreover, the carbon footprint of the entire build is measured, and all teams strive to incorporate sustainable parts and materials.

Each team brings a unique perspective and can choose to focus on different areas of the build. The team in Belgium can recycle the boat hull at its end of life as the infrastructure and desire to recycle is currently available in their country. The Indonesian team was concerned with medical waste and used facemasks to offset some of the carbon fiber used in their hull. A Portuguese team constructed a hydrogen generator with greater efficiency then commercially available units. The Indian team focused on the control and communication systems of their vessel for optimization. A top team from the Netherlands focused heavily on the control system and shape of their foil. A first-time entrant, and the only representation from the United States hailing from Louisiana, I can proudly say, we competed. The majority of teams have attended before and can focus on making incremental improvements to a working platform. Getting a boat together that meets all the criteria in one year is a solid accomplishment. I am sure Louisiana will bring some innovative features to the community in future competitions.

In addition to the student competition, industry professionals showcased their products and boats for demonstration. The Candela foiling boat, a technological marvel in any normal setting, it appeared regular as many student teams displayed and discussed the advanced foils and control systems they created. Notably, Evoy displayed a 300hp equivalent motor in a speed boat, Vita exhibited a variety of electric boats, and DeepSpeed impressed with its unique underwater jet engine, delivering impressive power and silence. Personally, I had a blast testing the quick acceleration of the rotatable jet motor in the choppy bay.

Hydrogen propulsion and generation were prominent focuses for many teams, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover the extent of advancements in this technology. Patrick at SBMoffshore demonstrated a small floating solar pontoon that converted seawater into freshwater and captured hydrogen from it. This makes me envision a future where small barges generate green hydrogen, allowing boats to pull up and refuel their tanks. Contrary to popular belief, hydrogen fuel cells are best used as generators to charge batteries rather than serving as direct replacements for electric motors and batteries. The electric systems we have today will work harmoniously with hydrogen generators in the future. While hydrogen holds great promise, for now, I still recommend an older style non-turbo diesel generator as a range extender, especially the Kubota motor commonly found in different brands of generators, capable of running on HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil). This provides a green option, which can be delivered to your home port and, if you find yourself in a remote area with only diesel available, you can still fill up.

Overall, the experience in Monaco was nothing short of magical. The ornate adorning of every building, the presence of supercars from various makes and models filling the streets, and the convenience of public elevators and escalators facilitating travel through the cliff-side community all left an awe-inspiring impression. The best part for me was having the privilege of shaking hands with Prince Albert. Coincidentally, we both attended summer camps at the same lake in the States, perhaps at different camps and different decades, but nevertheless, it was an incredible and unforgettable moment!

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