ENERGY OBSERVER

 

  ENERGY OBSERVER SOLAR AND SAIL POWERED HYDROGEN ELECTRIC CATAMARAN

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OCTOBER 2019

The zero emission ship, fuelled by only solar, wind and hydrogen has landed in London as the finale to the Northern Europe leg of its 6 year, 101 port round-the-world journey.

Energy Observer is the first ship to circumnavigate the globe using only renewable energy – with no emissions of any kind, either carbon or fine particles. The research vessel is on a mission to prove that a future where ships sail the ocean without burning fossil fuels is a viable possibility.

London, where EO will be docked under Tower Bridge, marks the end of the third leg of its odyssey, a total voyage thus far of 33,000 km / 20,000 miles. The first two legs took the boat around the coast of its home country of France and the second on a tour stopping at 21 ports in the Mediterranean Sea.

 

A large part of Energy Observer’s mandate is education, and both the boat and its travelling eco-exhibition will be open to the public while she is moored until October 9 at St. Katharines Docks on the Thames.

One of the most remarkable feats of the ship, beyond travelling so many miles without emissions, was its crossing the Arctic Circle and becoming the first zero-emission vessel to do so.

 

 

 

LONDON 2019 - Tower Bridge, the Energy Observer follows in the wake of PlanetSolar in visiting this famous landmark.

 

 

Turanor PlanetSolar travesl up the River Thames under Tower Bridge

 

PLANETSOLAR - After leaving Oostende (Belgium) on August 30 2013, the largest solar boat in the world reached London a day later, thereby bringing the campaign of scientific measurements along the Gulf Stream (PlanetSolar DeepWater) to a close.

 

 

 

2008 - The Cable & Wireless Adventurer on the River Thames, designed by Nigel Irens

 

 

Visited 13 Northern Europe ports

At the London landing, Victorien Erussard, President, Founder and Captain of Energy Observer said “Managing a total autonomy navigation of 5700 km from Saint-Petersburg to Spitsbergen in the Arctic is a symbolic moment that reminds us of the urgency to act in the face of climate change, which is particularly prominent in the polar zone.”

During the Northern European leg the ship visited Antwerp , Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Saint Petersburg, Spitsbergen, Tromsø, Bogø and Alesund along the coast of Norway, finishing off with a stop in Aberdeen Scotland before London.

 

 

Kitack Lim of the IMO, visits the Energy Observer in London

 

 

Along the way its arrival was an impetus for each city to show off its own initiatives in terms of energy and environmental transition especially in Antwerp and Amsterdam where the ports are implementing lower carbon tactics and technology in the servicing of the huge ships that dock and unload their cargo.

Aside from being one of the world’s supercities, London is also important because it is home to the the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is under pressure to to implement regulations to reduce the shipping sector’s CO2 emissions.

“This event today makes things concrete and confirms the feasibility of zero emission maritime transport.” said France’s Ambassador to the IMO, Geneviève Van Rossum. “In order to achieve the objectives of the IMO strategy, new ships will have to use these technologies tomorrow.”
Zero emission ship powered only by sun, wind and sea.

 

 

 

 

So how does a 60 metre (200 foot) boat sail around the world with no emissions? Energy Observer uses a mix of solar, wind and hydro-generation.

For collecting solar energy she has 141 square metre / 1500 sq ft of solar panels, for the wind there is a revolutionary OceanWings rigid sail system that optimizes the energy input of the wind (by up to 42%) and the boat’s motor acts as an electricity generating turbine when she is under wind propulsion.

All of these electrical sources connect to batteries and that stored energy is used to produce hydrogen, extracting it through electrolysis from the seawater the boat collects as it moves. This hydrogen in turn powers the fuel cells to drive the electric motor. No emissions. No fine particles. Just silent propulsion. In effect, a boat powered only by sun, wind and sea.

The Director General of IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) was also on hand for Energy Observer’s arrival. Francesco la Camera said “Energy Observer shows that with the innovations and technologies available today, it’s possible to accelerate low-carbon development to meet our climate and sustainable development goals.”

 

 

 

 

Next stop: Africa and Asia

From London, Energy Observer will return to her home port of St. Malo and get ready for the next leg which will literally take it around the world in a circumnavigation route.

After each leg the scientists working with the floating laboratory make adjustments in every aspect of the boat to maximize energy conservation, production and storage.

When she is set for the big journey – scheduled for 2020 – Energy Observer will go down the coast of Africa and around the continent to Asia and then prepare for the trans-Pacific leg in 2021, visiting the US West coast and then down and around Central and South America America and the East Coast of the USA in 2022.

 

 

Sail and solar powered hydrogen electric catamaran

 

 

As Energy Observer Expedition Leader Jerome Delafosse says:

“The ecological transition needs to be seen as a promise for a better world. Through this exclusive Odyssey, we want to make people dream, to raise awareness, to prove that humans can live in harmony with nature and that the fight against global warming can open some doors to a new economic expansion.“

The concept of using wind and solar power together on ships has been within our grasp for many years, but we did not care to divest ourselves of the diesel oils that shipping lines have been burning tax free since bunker fuels took over from coal.

 

The Energy Observer may be one of the slowest catamarans to sail the high seas, but the team is persistent and for sure, more than willing to give up on one idea and try another. For that level of scientific investigation the crew and development team must be commended.

 

 

 

 NARROW PASSAGE - The Energy Observer with Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) dormant.

 

 

Before this, in the 1980's several Japanese ships were fitted with rigid sails with the aim of reducing fuel consumption, driven largely by the oil crisis in the 1970's which resulted in oil shortages and the price of oil soaring. When the crisis passed and oil prices fell again, the viability of rigid sails in terms of cost was undermined.

 

 

Zero carbon cargo vessel ZEV for Pacific Islands Copyright Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd

 

SUSTAINABLE CONTAINER SHIPS - This is a conceptual design for a container transport for 6 standard units. The concept may be doubled and quadrupled without too much trouble and up-scaled by a factor of 8 to carry 960 standard containers. See our top ten list. That is does not match the carrying capacity of the heavy bunker fueled giants, but it is a formula for eventual 100% zero carbon transportation that is theoretically workable and deliverable to help line operators meet the IMO's targets.

 

Instead of folding sails, this system uses solar arrays that track the sun independently of the wind. By using rotary sails/turbines, the harvesting area can be significantly increased over the SolarSailor system. We believe that such a concept could eventually replace bunker fuels and eliminate the need for liquid fuels that may be potentially hazardous, the most dangerous of which is liquid hydrogen. LNG offers some respite until 2030. A system based on the components shown here might be tacked onto existing ships to assist propulsion and lower fuel consumption - as an interim measure during the transition to sustainable shipping.

 

 

 

FERRY SERVICE - The Solar Sailor also used sails when operating in Sydney and Hong Kong carrying 100 passengers each.

 

 

 

CHANGE OF TECHNOLOGY - Where the deck mounted vertical axis wind turbines did not perform as well as expected, the team opted to try extendable furling sails that rise to become semi-rigid wings. Wind turbines systems that raise the generators higher up into the air stream to improve energy harvesting are a feature of a bid for European funding in 2020.

 

 

 


CONTACTS

 

contact@energy-observer.org
media@energy-observer.org

 

 

 

 

A - Z SAIL AND SOLAR ASSISTED BOATS & SHIPS

 

ARCHINAUTE

ASHINGTON

AQUARIUS

BLACK MAGIC

ENERGY OBSERVER

IWSA - WINDSHIP ASSOCIATION

JAMDA

SOLAR SAILOR

VINDSKIP

VPLP

WALKER WINGSAILS

WIND CHALLENGER

 

 

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

https://plugboats.com/zero-emission-energy-observer-lands-in-london/

http://www.energy-observer.org/actu/en/

 

 

 

 

TRANSFERABLE TECHNOLOGY - The design of the Climate Change Challenger might be adapted to Cargo, Container, Cruise and Ferry designs, without needing to radically alter port facilities. The designs above are not representative of adaptations of the concept, but serve to illustrate the thinking of other design houses.

 

 

 

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