The Energy Observer – World’s First Hydrogen Vessel

The Energy Observer

The Energy Observer. Credit: Flickr / Patrice CALATAYU / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Energy Observer, the world’s first autonomous hydrogen-powered ship utilizes solar-powered energy and also produces its own hydrogen from seawater.

The futuristic ship is being hailed as a model for energy networks with its zero greenhouse gas emissions or fine particles and is currently circumnavigating the globe. The tour is sponsored by Toyota, who is very strong on its commitment to renewable energy.

Air Liquide as a partner has been reportedly involved for over 20 years in the development of hydrogen energy. The company is also supporting the scientific and technological project showcasing the role of hydrogen in the energy transition. The project was envisioned by Captain Victorien Erussard and the explorer, Jérôme Delafosse, who are sailing around the world lasting for six years from 2017 to 2022. And, the trip is inclusive of visiting 50 countries, with 101 ports of call.

The Energy Observer whilst on this tour would test the onboard technologies under extreme conditions, a search of sustainable solutions, and also demonstrate to key audiences that the energy transition is possible. The catamaran is reportedly the French Ambassador for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.

The ship is an authentic floating laboratory that operates on a mix of renewable energies, the solar, wind, and hydrogen produced from seawater. The ship is also said to have a smart traction kite that can convert the electric motors into hydro generators, a Bifacial thermoformed solar panels with a surface area of 130 m2 as well as two vertical axis wind turbines. The two floats of the catamaran facilitate in integrating the entire hydrogen production line and serve as technical rooms. Meanwhile, an onboard system allows seawater to be collected, desalinated, and deionized. The water molecules after purification are decomposed to obtain hydrogen. And later, a fuel cell transforms the molecules into electricity and heat.

Furthermore, the 30.5 meters long by 12.80 meters wide catamaran would move to northern Europe in 2019 and reach Tokyo for the Olympic Games in 2020.


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