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Engineering students from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai formed the first team from the MENA region to participate in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge Image Credit: Supplied

A group of engineering students from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai have shared their vision for the future of sustainable yachting during an event staged in collaboration with the Yacht Club de Monaco at Dubai Expo 2020. The team showcased their work on the electric propulsion of boats using alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, ahead of their participation in the 9th Monaco Energy Boat Challenge this July.

Hosted at the Monaco Pavilion under the banner, ‘Monaco Capital of Advanced Yachting’, the conference focussed on building an eco-aware future for the boating sector. Having represented the UAE in two previous editions of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, the team from RIT Dubai shared their experience of past competitions and provided an overview of their current boat design project, which they will race at this year’s event.

The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge (MEBC), launched in 2014 and organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco, is a one-of-a-kind event dedicated to new energies and sustainability in yachting, and is held each year in July in Monaco. This event showcases the creativity of young engineers working with the industry to find concrete solutions for alternative clean propulsion systems for boats.

Image Credit: Supplied

Its success over the years has seen participation by professionals from the yachting industry and engineering students from over 20 universities and 16 countries, including the UAE, Indonesia, China, Portugal, the Netherlands, Peru, Italy, and France. Over the course of the event, participants and visitors gather for zero emission boat races (Solar, Energy and Open Sea Class), as well as conferences, a hydrogen round table, Tech Talks and an exhibition dedicated to new energies and sustainable solutions.

As a Capital of Advanced Yachting, Monaco has a long tradition of innovation and association with the motorboating fraternity, dating back to 1904 when it hosted the first powerboat meetings trialling combustion engine developments. Yacht Club de Monaco is now spearheading the drive towards an eco-responsible future for sailing and motorboats and is positioning itself as a pioneer of innovation to transform the yachting sector. With the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge and the SEA Index – a benchmarking rating to measure CO2 emissions for owners of +40m boats – Yacht Club de Monaco is shedding light on new solutions and helping the energy transition towards more efficient yachting.

The RIT-Dubai students participating in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge are mentored by Dr Ghalib Kahwaji and come from different areas of study within the university, including mechanical engineering. Speaking about their involvement, RIT Dubai President, Dr Yousef Al Assaf, said, “Participating in this challenge gives our students an opportunity to innovate and contribute to creating futuristic sustainable energy solutions. Networking with many other teams from all over the world makes all of us feel the global need to unite for noble causes, including supporting our communities and their futures.”

RIT Dubai was the first team from the MENA region to participate in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge and will demonstrate their new boat design during their third appearance in the competition this summer.