Launch of green hydrogen pontoon: YCM paves way to sustainable yachting


Wednesday 21 st February 2024. In line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and under the aegis of the collective ‘Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting’ approach, Yacht Club de Monaco continues to ramp up initiatives using technology to help protect the environment. Attended by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, the latest was launch of the first autonomous green hydrogen pontoon that can fill 30 cylinders and supply eight teams with green hydrogen in preparation for the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge (1-7 July 2024). “The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge was launched 11 years ago. It is very satisfying to see how far we have progressed. Even with limited resources it is now possible to produce green hydrogen,” says YCM General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri.


As the aim is for Monaco to spearhead responsible yachting, YCM unveiled the pontoon attended by officials including Céline Caron-Dagioni, Minister of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Development; Patrice Cellario, Minister of the Interior; Armelle Roudaut-Lafon, Director Maritime Affairs; Olivier Wenden, Vice-President of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation; Marco Casiraghi, engineer and instigator of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge; and Francesco Prazzo, General Manager, SBM Offshore.


The pontoon also highlights YCM’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy that aims to realise the visions of a Sovereign who believes that “faced with the climate emergency, it is imperative that living proof of progress replaces all the promises”. On course for Monaco Energy Boat Challenge A loyal partner of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, SBM Offshore decided to make a landmark contribution for its sixth participation by installing this floating facility producing green hydrogen from renewable energy. Moored in the YCM Marina since January, the goal is to supply the eight teams in the Energy Class ahead of the meeting to help reduce the event’s carbon footprint and promote usage of eco-responsible energy resources. “An ever-increasing demand for safe, sustainable, affordable energy presents one of the biggest challenges of our time. As offshore pioneers, we are convinced the oceans hold the key to meet an urgent need for low-carbon solutions, with hydrogen being part of that response,” explains Francesco Prazzo.


Green hydrogen and Hi-Tech: yachting at an ecological turning point

This type of facility has been trialled at previous editions of the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge and have undergone numerous improvements. Weighing 1.3 tonnes, this pontoon has a 20m2 surface area of floating solar panels linked to twice as many batteries to produce hydrogen continuously day and night. Cylinder fill-time is now 1 litre/minute. The pontoon also incorporates a remote control system to monitor electrolyser flow, battery charge, the heating and cooling system, as well as sensors, alarms and a dehumidifier. For the 11th Monaco Energy Boat Challenge 2024, teams will have a choice between 9 litre or 13 litre hydrogen cylinders. Each team is free to estimate its consumption according to its choice of power source with the right to produce energy during a race.


Recycling water solutions at YCM

At the same time, YCM is working hard to conserve resources by recycling water from its swimming pool using innovative technology developed by FGWRS. It’s the first time this system has been installed for a pool and it’s in Monaco, closely monitored by the Monegasque health authorities. Since June 2023, YCM members have been bathing in recycled water that is returned to the pool, particularly during the filter cleaning process, instead of using drinking water as was being done before. Over one million litres of water have already been treated in this way, equivalent to half an Olympic-size pool. Water from this state of the art FGWRS system is also used to clean boats and to water plants via a device called Aqua Sail in the form of recycled water cubes. These are being used by young sailors, Sailing School members, regatta competitors like the 400 sailor set to compete in the 40th Primo Cup (7-10 March 2024), Club members and YCM Marina staff and those using the private Touch & Go pontoon.


As a proactive player that leads by example with new technology on its own premises, all these actions are proof of the success of YCM’s environmental policy that aims to get everyone thinking about the impact their choices have on the environment. It’s an issue that will be at the heart of debates on Yachting Day organised by YCM on Thursday 21st March during Monaco Ocean Week. A packed programme will focus on exploration, the Explorer Awards in collaboration with the Explorer Club based in New York and the Monaco Smart Yacht Rendezvous.


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