The world’s first green energy, clean, emission-free boat, dubbed the ‘Solar Impulse of the seas’ ushers in a new wave of ocean travel. The solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse 2, circumnavigated the world in July 2016, and this reportedly could be its ocean-equivalent. The futuristic catamaran, Energy Observer, sets sail on a six-year mission to promote sustainable energy sources, and the groundbreaking project will be reportedly presented in Paris at the UNESCO headquarters.
The self-sufficient boat is set to embark on its maiden voyage in May 2017 with Explorer, Victorien Erussard and offshore racer, Jérôme Delafosse, who will cruise the boat. Delafosse said that they would produce hydrogen onboard from the ocean. He added that they would clean and purify the water, electrolyse it, and compress it in tank storage.
Features of the Green Energy Boat:
The Energy Observer, a former racing vessel, is converted into the futuristic green vessel. The green vessel will be equipped with 130 square metres of solar panelling. It will be featured with two vertical axis wind turbines, a traction kite, and two reversible electric motors. The boat will run emission-free on solar and wind power during the day. So, how would the self-sufficient boat be refuelled on a less sunny or windy day? The vessel is fitted with electrolysis equipment which aims to reduce the hydrogen from sea-water and then stored in tanks. This stored hydrogen would be used to power the boat’s fuel cells on a less sunny or windy day and at night. The Energy Observer is three times lighter than MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the last solar-powered boat, and weighs 30 tonnes. Delafosse expects the Observer to cruise at eight to ten knots, though in theory, it has a potential top speed of 42 knots.
Delafosse and Erussard partnered with French research centre CEA-LITEN to develop the ground-breaking technology. Delafosse said that energy was over-produced when there was a lot of wind and sun, and the idea was to not waste the energy but keep it on board. He also added that hydrogen was light and the efficiency of hydrogen was three times more than regular fuel.
The Energy Observer would commence its six-year voyage in spring, stopping at 50 countries, and around 101 ports. The 4.2 million euro vessel is currently anchored at a shipyard in St. Marlo, France before it takes off on its iconic voyage.