Tesla has created an innovative solar power and energy storage off-grid system to power the SailGP boat racing series. SailGP has announced its plans to become carbon neutral by 2025, starting with a project with Tesla ahead of its second season.
With an increased urgency in Season 2, SailGP will continue building the foundations laid in year one. This includes a technical project together with Tesla. Tesla and SailGP have teamed up to assist the new sport’s diesel-powered mobile recharging stations to switch to solar and storage.
The SailGP boats consist of onboard batteries to power some devices. During the previous season, they had a diesel generator for charging the batteries for all of the boats at their Sydney facility before a competition.
SailGP stated that it worked with Tesla for eight months to develop the completely portable, off-grid, clean energy solution to charge the batteries in the F50 racing catamarans to power their electronics, hydrofoils, and communication systems.
The result was a mobile recharging box that was successfully tested in Sydney and equipped with four 13.5kWh Powerwalls as well as 15kW of solar PV.
SailGP and Tesla built a mobile, off-grid energy storage device with a Powerwall inside a container and solar power on the roof to charge the batteries. It includes a 13kW solar power system and two Tesla Powerwalls.
Josef Tadich (a senior manager in engineering at Tesla Australia) noted the “excellent application” of the Powerwall system on LinkedIn.
Tadich stated that they were able “to replace the existing diesel generator set with 4 Powerwalls (20kW), operating off-grid with residential PV of 15kW, which then charged the individual SailGP batteries packs.”
“Grid-forming battery inverters give an excellent opportunity to replace traditional gensets in applications like this, eliminating the need for Genset maintenance/operations, noise and emissions, and the expensive shipment of diesel to what are often remote locations,” he said.
SailGP has released a press release describing the project:
- As part of the pilot program, 36 400W solar panels and Tesla Powerwalls were installed in the Sydney SailGP Technical Area, along with Tesla Powerwalls. The installation of renewable power used to take a long time and was expensive. However, the new technology allows the solar kit to be quickly assembled, disassembled, and then transported from one event to the next. The test will result in wider use of renewable power, making SailGP events cleaner, greener, and faster. It will also create a blueprint that can be used for major events as well as disaster relief and remote communities.
The project has been deployed along with the new season of SailGP. It was originally scheduled to begin in February but has been delayed until next year. It would be very useful for remote communities and disaster zones, as SailGP stated.
It would be extremely easy to deploy and less expensive if all the components (power electronics, solar, batteries) were contained in one container.
This renewable-based alternative for polluting and expensive diesel aligns with SailGP’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, a target set by the sailing series’ CEO and co-founder Russell Coutts at the start of the year.
The Sustainability Report shows that SailGP has a value of $US200 million after only one year of trading. It received a substantial investment from Endeavor, a giant sports content company. This was just weeks before the launch of the second season in Sydney.
The report states that Season 1 reached a global audience totaling 1.8 billion during its five races in Sydney, San Francisco, New York, and Marseille – with more than 130,000 spectators turned up to watch live.
SailGP boasts the fastest sailing racing in the world. It also claims to be the first competition to embrace World Sailing’s sustainability charter for special events and the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action Framework. In addition, it is dedicated to measuring, reducing, and neutralizing its carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
Following the Sydney test, the hope is that the Powerwall and solar solution can be applied at all races in all future seasons of the competition.
There’s a tremendous distance to go, and not just in sports. But look how rapidly things are changing.
SailGP showcases what they do and links it with speed. So it’s not worth spending years talking about it and then claiming that we will eventually get there. It’s far more urgent than that, and we must find solutions fast.
With a sense of purpose beyond entertainment, SailGP will use its global platform to accelerate change to a cleaner and more inclusive future via a newly launched initiative: Race for the Future.
SailGP, the sport’s premier league featuring the fastest sailing globally, will set a new standard as the first weather-positive sports and entertainment property and deliver actions and innovations to advance global clean energy adoption. In addition, the plan includes diversification of the league to promote gender equality and racial inclusion.
SailGP has postponed its second-season events due to the pandemic. However, it is continuing to build on the foundations laid in year one. SailGP Inspire launched a community outreach program for youth and women – SailGP Inspire. This program was part of the initial goal to win the race to zero carbon.
Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of SailGP, stated: “We have a responsibility to the world beyond what we offer as entertainment. SailGP is a unique platform that allows us to accelerate sustainable development. Race for the Future is a way to go from intention to action and has the potential to bring about social and environmental change within and outside the sport.
We are not satisfied with having a zero-carbon footprint or a diverse workforce. We have challenged ourselves to think larger and further. These issues extend beyond SailGP, beyond sport, and beyond the industry. We will be strong advocates for clean energy adoption and champions of inclusion.
Race for the Future: A New Environmental Standard
SailGP is the first climate-friendly sports and entertainment property and going to be a net-zero carbon footprint in all events and business operations. SailGP will reduce its carbon output dramatically and invest in projects that eliminate more of the remaining emissions to create a climate-friendly environment.
Dr. Susie Tomson, SailGP Sustainability Director, stated that “We face a global climate emergency which requires aggressive action.” We must take bold and innovative steps, not only in sailing but also in the marine and sports industries. We will reduce our impact through technology and innovation. We will use our network, partners, fans, and events to inspire and showcase change.
SailGP is setting a new standard in clean event delivery. Through a partnership with One Carbon World (a global resource partner under the UN Climate Neutral Now Initiative), SailGP will track its carbon emissions and verify them.
Three of SailGP’s main activity areas – in cities, onshore, and on the water – were identified to reduce the league’s carbon footprint. In addition, SailGP has partnered with innovative and like-minded companies in each area to transition to clean energy solutions.
The remaining carbon that cannot be eliminated will be offset through One Carbon World and the advancement of pioneering blue carbon projects. These projects help to preserve or restore crucial carbon-sequestering shoreline ecologies around the globe. Blue carbon projects will be delivered through a partnership with Worldview International Foundation, starting with planting mangroves to contribute to the charity’s ambitious purpose of planting a billion trees and mitigating 500 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
SailGP’s F50 racing boats are one the most impressive examples of clean energy on the globe. They harness the power and speed of the wind to travel at 3-4 times its speed.
To ensure that both race and support boats are powered naturally, a key project is to reduce the carbon footprint of support boats. This is essential to manage SailGP racing safely. SailGP, a pioneer in portable electric outboard motors, will partner with ePropulsion to transition 11 boats from its fleet to propulsion motors for the beginning of Season 2.
SailGP also has partnered with Evoy (an innovative Norwegian company that makes high-output, electric propulsion systems for boats) to find a solution to electrify the league’s high-speed chase boats. A pilot partnership will see an initial boat being upgraded for testing at the first European event of Season 2. If successful, plans will be put in place to convert the rest of the boats to electric motors.
The ultimate goal is to have an electric support boat fleet of fully electric boats by 2025. This will eliminate the equivalent of 175 cars and help to drive a clean energy revolution within the marine industry.
SailGP, a company based on the coast, is moving away from fossil fuel-based technologies to 100% renewable power by 2025. At the core of the project will be temporary event power supplied by generators using clean fuel.
Although the race boats are powered inherently by nature, they require batteries to run the electronics and store power during racing. It is therefore essential that these batteries are charged with clean energy once they reach the shore. In Season 1, a new mobile, off-grid solar solution was developed in partnership with Tesla. It uses a Tesla Powerwall system. SailGP plans to expand the initiative to provide power for additional technical boat operations, such as the outboard motors used by the support boat fleet.
The circularity of race boat production is another key project. The UK’s first carbon fiber recovery plant, ELG Carbon Fiber, will partner with the F50s to allow the waste carbon fiber to be recycled and reintroduced back into the manufacturing process. This will ensure a responsible and low-carbon manufacturing process. This partnership will help address the problem of global carbon consumption as well as raise awareness about closed-loop recycling in the marine industry.
A new innovation for 2021 is that each of the eight national teams participating in SailGP will race with purpose. Each team will sign a Race for the Future charity partner in their local market. This not only offers valuable commercial space on the boat but also helps to secure funding for the partner’s cause through race results. Teams will collaborate with their partners to develop projects that are in line with SailGP’s sustainability goals.
Blair Tuke, co-CEO of the New Zealand SailGP Team, said that “SailGP is a huge opportunity to accelerate change. It shines a light on key environmental issues. Live Ocean, our partner, will raise awareness about the importance of protecting and restoring our oceans. They are one of the best defenses against climate change. It is really exciting to be able to bring attention to the urgent need for action using Race for the future.
SailGP will provide actions and innovations to accelerate the global adoption of clean energies by investing in clean technology. It will also serve as a collaborative innovation laboratory and inspire action.
SailGP will invest through its own research and design capabilities and create an investment fund for start-ups in clean technology solutions. It will develop, test, and bring sustainable market innovations more applicable to the marine industry than the traditional marine industry. The league can also reinvest in projects that protect and nurture the environment in which SailGP races.
E1 is the first project, which was launched last month. In addition, SailGP is designing and engineering the first race boat concept. This will allow the league to continue its push for sustainable innovation and drive forward electrification in the marine industry.
The global championship will be an innovation laboratory that brings together stakeholders, thought leaders, and change-makers to collaborate on cleantech innovations. SailGP events will be the ultimate showcase and, through demonstrations and forums, will bring together innovators to shape marine sustainability and clean technology.
From grassroots youth programs to consumer campaigns, SailGP’s goal is to incite action among its partners, fans, and audiences. SailGP will be the global voice for clean energy through its events, broadcast, and social media platforms. In addition, SailGP Inspire will educate 10,000 youth in cities hosting events about sustainability.
“Sustainability is at our core at ROCKWOOL Group. SailGP gives us a global platform to raise awareness, showcase sustainable solutions, and share our optimism about today’s sustainability challenges, particularly in urban environments. Jens Birgersson, Rockwool Group CEO, stated that we believe a more sustainable future can be achieved and that together we can accelerate change, drive innovation, and inspire current and future generations to take action.
Coutts stated, “There is no doubt that we want to partner with sustainable companies.” It works both ways. They are interested in partnering with us. There are no discussions that we’re having at the moment that doesn’t involve sustainability.”
Coutts said, “I want to beat 2025,” Coutts added. “Internally, some people have mentioned to us that many organizations have set 2030 the goal. But then we sat around and talked about it and said, ‘why not.’