UAntwerp students take their Umicore Solar Boat for a spin in Monaco harbour

The principality of Monaco is hosting the Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup until Saturday and the UAntwerp Solar Team is participating.

The principality of Monaco is hosting the Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup until Saturday and the UAntwerp Solar Team is participating. The team is part of the Powered by Umicore programme that supports clean mobility projects by engineering students. The students are clearly impressed by the surroundings of this particular race: “The boats here clearly belong in another category than what we are used to, this is awesome!”

Exactly hundred years ago, the first motor boat competitions were organised in the bay of Port Hercule. To commemorate the occasion, the Yacht Club de Monaco organises a race for solar boats from 9 to 11 July. The yacht harbour, usually strictly reserved for the floating palaces of the world’s rich and famous, welcomes thirty boats that have been designed and are steered by students of universities and colleges all over the world, to compete for victory in the Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup.
The industrial engineering students of UAntwerp are in! In the last few years and with Umicore’s support, the students have steadily collected tonnes of solar boat experience. “We are very proud of the students and the solar boat they have designed. Their passion for clean mobility and solar energy are promising signs for the future. In Monaco, these engineers-to-be are showing the world that clean mobility can become a reality,” says Tatiana Cervak, Social Investment Manager Umicore.

Successful tests
The current team went to Friesland last summer where they participated successfully in the Dong Energy Solar Challenge, the unofficial world championship for solar boats. In Monaco, they launch an improved version of that boat. “Better stability, new screw propellers, improved electrical systems and feather-light solar panels have made our boat even more competitive,” explains team member Jens van Overveld. “During preparation tests, we have been able to reach speeds of more than 20 km/h for the first time!”
The challenges in the principality’s competition are three-fold: sprinting, slalom and long distance. Following technical inspections, these challenges are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Van Overveld: “Our first test run between these huge yachts was truly awesome! And on Saturday evening, our adventure here will finish in style, with a proper gala dinner. We are looking forward to unpack our suits and dress up for the occasion!”