August 29, 2023

ULL Engineering Students Make History with Solar-Powered Boat

ULL Engineering Students Make History with Solar-Powered Boat

ULL Engineering students have achieved a remarkable feat by showcasing their solar-powered boat at the prestigious Monaco Energy Boat Challenge. This event, held in the enchanting coastal city of Monaco, attracts boats of various sizes, from luxurious yachts to sleek powerboats. According to this news release from ULL, the Southern Solar team, consisting of five members from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, made history by becoming the first U.S. team to participate in this renowned challenge.

Led by Lelia Deville, a Ph.D. candidate, and recent graduates Brennan Guarisco, Jordan Smith, Taylor Thistlethwaite, and Claire Werther, the team traveled to Monaco to put their innovative vessel, named “Beausoleil,” to the test. The boat was meticulously designed and constructed in UL Lafayette’s Louisiana Solar Energy Lab, showcasing the university’s commitment to sustainable technology.

At the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, the Southern Solar team went head-to-head with 31 universities from 21 countries in various boat races. Impressively, the team secured the 11th position in both the solar class championship and the solar class endurance race. Moreover, they ranked 12th in the solar class general ranking category, further validating their engineering prowess.

The engineering students accomplishments extended beyond the races, as the team engaged in a tech talk to discuss their project with an international audience. The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge provides an opportunity for industry leaders to explore sustainable boat research, design, and construction through conferences, seminars, job forums, and product presentations.

The “Beausoleil” boasts nine solar modules mounted on its deck, harnessing solar power to fuel the boat’s operations. Equally crucial to its success are the four hydrofoils, which function like wings beneath the boat’s hull. These hydrofoils elevate the boat during cruising speeds, reducing drag and improving both speed and energy efficiency. As described by Yasmeen Qudsi, a senior instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Southern Solar’s faculty advisor, the boat glides on the water, akin to how an airplane operates in the air.

Throughout the project, the team received mentorship from faculty members and consulted professionals in various fields, including solar energy, naval architecture, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. This collaboration with experts such as Georges Antoun, an alumnus instrumental in establishing the Louisiana Solar Energy Lab, enriched their learning experience and contributed to the boat’s success.

Jordan Smith, one of the team members, expressed her fulfillment with the nine-month project. She shared a significant milestone during on-the-water testing at Airport Lake near the campus, where the team accomplished “foiling” for the first time, lifting the boat out of the water. This achievement symbolized their incredible progress from starting with little to achieving excellence in boat design and performance.

The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge holds immense significance for the future of sustainable boat design and construction. It provides a platform for students to contribute to the development of eco-friendly technologies that extend from small-scale crafts to luxurious superyachts.

ULL’s Southern Solar team is described as being “a team consisting of senior-level mechanical engineering students from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.” When speaking about their commitment to compete in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, the team describes that they “achieved this and were honored to receive their ‘Rookie of the Year’ award.”

In conclusion, the UL Lafayette Southern Solar team’s participation in the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge exemplifies their dedication to advancing sustainable technology in the boating industry. By showcasing their solar-powered boat, the team has not only made a mark in the challenge’s history but also contributed to the global conversation about eco-friendly boats and renewable energy solutions.

For more education-related information, click here.

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