As part of the HydroConX project, we are dedicated to designing and building a vessel for the HydroContest International Innovation Competition, which is held every year at a different location in Europe. With regards to our knowledge and experience so far, after working on a similar project (Adria Hydrofoil Team), we have decided to participate this year too.
HydroContest is the first international student competition and incubator of ideas devoted to energy efficiency in sea transport. Teams have a task to independently design and build a radio-controlled vessel. According to the rules of the competition each team must have a manager, members responsible for logistics and communication, and other functions are assigned according to the needs and capabilities of the team.
The emphasis of this competition is on innovation and the development of new technologies in shipbuilding and maritime affairs, especially on the application of electric propulsion and hydrofoil technology. In the world about 90% of international trade takes place by cargo transport via ships. It has been proven that one launch of a tanker engine pollutes the environment as if we launched 15,000 cars at the same time. When viewed globally, sea transport annually releases 120 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is a very big problem for our planet. It is therefore important that innovations are energy-efficient and economically viable and contribute to environmental protection (reduction of CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases).
By participating in this competition students highlight the problem and encourage ecological awareness and create better foundations for a greener future. This contest has media coverage to increase the awareness across a broader audience.
The competition is conducted in three disciplines, each of which represents a potential way of improving the future transportation of passengers and goods:
- lightweight transport of 20 kg (transport of passengers),
- heavyweight transport of 200 kg (freight transport),
- one-hour endurance race (continuous driving without recharging).
Dimensional limitations of the vessel must be within the given volume (2.5 m x 2.5 m x 2 m) and with a maximum engine power of 1.4 kW. The design and performance of the vessel are completely left to the team.
Our team’s vessel won the 3rd place in last year’s competition against 32 universities, at the HydroContest held in September in St. Tropez, France. That vessels main purpose was for heavyweight transport.
With further work on the project we will improve the vessels hydrodynamics, reduce energy consumption and we aim for the vessel to be among the top five. We want to share the acquired knowledge and experience from the previous competitions with our new members and build upon it. This year we put the priority on a heavyweight vessel. The vessel we are working on is 3.65 m in length, 0.7 m wide and with all built-in equipment (no load) weighs 32 kg. The light weight of the vessel is accomplished by using carbon/kevlar sandwich construction.