Team Sea Sakthi from Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore is set to represent India in the prestigious Monaco Energy Boat Challenge 2022 (MEBC), from July 4th to July 9th 2022.
Comprising 14 engineering students, this energy-boat team will represent India against international universities based in France, Canada, UAE, Greece, and Indonesia among others. MEBC is an annual event in Monaco, the yachting capital of the world, organized by the Yacht Club de Monaco. This Challenge requires University students to design and construct sustainable boats within the design parameters set by the organisation and race their boats against the creations of other teams. The below write-up by Team Sea Sakthi makes an introduction to the event and how the team designed its electric boat ‘Yali’.
About the competition
Monaco is no stranger to races. It’s the location of the most coveted F1 race on the calendar, held around June and organizes the E-Prix weeks before. Just offshore, Monaco is the heart of global yachting, and Yacht Club de Monaco is the steward of yachting in the principality. Established in 1953, the club has taken responsibility for cleaner oceans and, as a part of that, organizes Monaco Energy Boat Challenge. MEBC, now in its 9th iteration, is an event that inspires universities across the globe and pushes their students to build yachting solutions centred around zero carbon emissions. Team Sea Sakthi is the first team from India to participate in the event.
Under the auspices of Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, Team Sea Sakthi was formed to bring sustainability to the marine sector. The 14 membered team is composed of undergraduate students from varied departments. Harnessing the institution’s experience in electric vehicle projects,
the team has managed to design, validate, fabricate and test their boat in record time.
Class rules for the competition
Contesting as a part of “Energy Class”, the team must follow strict rules on weight and safety. In this class, all teams must use a similar catamaran-type hull provided by the organizers. The team with the best chassis and propulsion module will be favourites, with points for the slalom race, manoeuvrability challenge and the endurance race. The international jury of MEBC awards further points for technical presentation by teams with prizes for Innovations, Eco Conceptions and Communication as well.
Team Sea Sakthi’s Design
– The class rules set requirements for two power sources.
– Sea Sakthi has opted for a 48V 9.6kW LiFePo4 battery pack as the primary power source feeding a 6-kW outboard electric motor for a theoretical top speed of up to 16 knots.
– Light weight semi-flexible solar panels have been installed as the supplementary energy source.
– With keen attention to weight reduction and energy savings, the frame has been fabricated entirely from Aluminium 6063 T6.
– To aid testing, two hulls matching MEBC specifications were locally made of FRP.
On 6th May 2022, the team’s efforts were unveiled to the world, and the boat was christened “Yali”, after the mythological guardian beast of temples. Soon after, Yali was put to sea in the Chennai Port for testing and exceeded expectations. One of the main innovations of the team is the development of a user-friendly cloud-based dashboard. The in-house innovation provides the boat pilot and onshore members with real-time data on energy consumption and battery usage, along with a live video feed from the boat. Tools for statistical analysis of races have been incorporated into the system.
Future prospects and wider significance
India is a country with more than 14,500 km of inland waterways. Though most vessels in the inland network are small, the greenhouse gas emissions quickly add up due to the scale of the endeavour. The penetration of electric systems is relatively low in the marine sector and Sea Sakthi aims to change that. The current battery-solar propulsion system can be easily scaled to suit various vessels. The higher installation costs can be offset by fuel prices, maintenance costs and environmental impact reduction.
The team plans to work on future IC-EV conversion models for marine systems. None of this will be possible without the continued support of Kumaraguru Institutions and the team’s partners. Sea Sakthi has been able to find partners like Legrand and Quench. While on the outreach side, stories from major news outlets and tweets from personalities such as Shashi Tharoor have been the most significant aid.
You, too, can support the team! Cheer them on Instagram @teamseasakthi or visit them at https://seasakthi.com/. With the races scheduled from 6th to 9th of July, Team Sea Sakthi have the time of their life ahead.
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