AGH Solar Boat once again among winners at Monaco Solar Boat Challenge

photos by Dorota Grzegorczyk, KSAF AGH

The AGH Solar Boat Team took third place for the second consecutive year at the world’s most prestigious solar boat competition – Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge.

The race attracted teams from all over the world, with boats competing in three  classes: V20, Open Class and A Class, which is the one the AGH Solar Boat was entered in.

The boats which took part in this year’s challenge were tested for several parameters, including maneuverability, speed and energy efficiency. The competition featured three separately judged races . In the slalom race, boats covered a distance of 400 metres in an individually timed run. The event aimed to test mainly the maneuverability of the competing boats as well as piloting skills and stabilisation systems used in the boats. The fleet race saw all boats competing together for the maximum number of laps completed during a three-hour race. The key success factor here was the maximum reduction of drag and the aim was to verify the effectiveness of solutions applied in the solar cell-batteries-drive configuration. The most important race of the event – championship race – involved boats racing one-on-one in a speed test over a special 600-metre race course. Construction elements boosting speed and maneuverability of the boats – such as hydrofoils – improved the chances of success in this competition.

The final success of the AGH Solar Boat was possible mainly thanks to its proper design and effectively reduced hydrodynamic drag. In order to meet the stringent requirements of the competition, AGH UST students focused their attention on minimising the wet surface area of the hull, which was achieved through the use of hydrofoils. These created lift – a force that, literally, lifts the boat’s hull above water surface. Hydrofoils mounted on the front pylon raised the bow above waves and stabilised the boat in the difficult marine conditions prevailing in the area. In addition, in order to reduce the drag of the hull, the boat’s weight had to be reduced to a minimum. To this end, students used epoxy-carbon laminated composite for the construction of the hull. Another challenge consisted in selecting power unit that could be sufficiently light-weight and compact on the one hand and offer high performance levels on the other. 

The Monaco Solar & Energy Boat Challenge, held on the waters surrounding the Monte Carlo district of Monaco, is one of the world’s most prestigious solar boat-related events. It was established in order to stimulate the development of renewable energy sources and promote innovations in this area.

See photo gallery from the event (by KSAF AGH)