“Energy Observer” in the Venetian Harbor of Chania

Energy Observer is a hydrogen vessel launched in April 2017. Developed in collaboration with engineers from the CEA-LITEN (fr) the boat will test and prove the efficiency of a full production chain that relies on the coupling of different renewable energies. Energy Observer will be the “first hydrogen vessel around the world”. Following its launch, scheduled for winter 2017, the boat will leave in the Spring for a world tour lasting 6 years in order to optimize its technologies and lead an expedition that will serve durable solutions for energy transition.

Energy Observer is a project revolving around an experimental vessel and its expedition, that has for main purpose to find concrete, innovative, and successful solutions in favor of energy transition. Due to its technologies, it will be the first vessel in the world capable of producing decarbonized hydrogen on board thanks to an energy mix. Often nicknamed ” Solar Impulse of the Seas” because the technologies developed hint to the solar project of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, or even “Modern day Calypso” in regards to the displayed willingness of using the boat as a production platform for media content on ecology, sustainable development and energy transition.

Victorien Erussard, offshore racer and merchant naval officer will lead the expedition along with Jérôme Delafosse, professional diver and producer of wildlife documentaries.

By their side, a team of over 30 people, architects, designers and engineers, spreading from Saint-Malo to Paris to Grenoble have been working since 2015 on refurbishing the catamaran.

Energy Observer is a former race boat that has been reconditioned: Built in Canada in 1983 by naval architect Nigel Irens, under the supervision of sailor Mike Birch’s, the maxi-multihull marked the evolution of its successors. Baptised Formule TAG, it was the first racing sailboat to break the symbolic 500 miles limit in 24 hours in 1984. The boat has since been lengthened four times and now displays the following dimensions:

Length 30,5 metres
Width 12,80 metres
Weight 28 metric tons
Speed 8-10 knots

According to Victorien Erussard “Energy Observer is a conversion that has a double meaning: to recycle a reliable and lightweight catamaran which is an around the world record holder and to invest in research and development, instead of in composites”.

Designed in partnership with a naval architect team and the CEA-LITEN (fr) of Grenoble, this experimental vessel is going to be the first with autonomous means of producing hydrogen on board and without emitting greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energies. The boat will produce and store hydrogen using seawater thanks to an energy mix involving: 3 types of solar panels spreading over a surface of 130 square meters (21 kW peak), 2 vertical axis wind turbines (2 x 1 kW), 1 traction kite and 2 reversible electric motors (2×41 kW) of hydrogenation, 1 lithium battery (106 kWh), 1 desalinisator, 1 electrolyser, 1 compressor, 1 fuel cell (22 kW), 62 kg of hydrogen. The complete hydrogen system = 2100 kilos. A new a lighter battery will be implemented in 2019.

Energy Observer will launch in winter 2017 for a series of tests at sea before its big departure from Saint-Malo in the spring. It will call in at Paris for a first event where the boat will be officially baptised. This event will celebrate the start of a six-year expedition, scheduled from 2017 to 2022, visiting 50 countries and 101 ports of call including: historical ports, wildlife sanctuaries, natural reserves, endangered ecosystems and international events. This expedition has for goal to reconcile ecology and technology and to prove that it is possible to reduce our impact on the environment without reducing our comfort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.