around the world
planned ports of call
Energy Observer, a project initiated by Captain Victorien Erussard and the explorer Jérôme Delafosse, is embarking on a trip around the world lasting seven years (from 2017 to 2023) and visiting 50 countries, with 101 ports of call along the way. Its big challenge is to power the vessel entirely using a mix of clean and renewable energies that can produce decarbonized hydrogen directly on board.
The mission of Energy Observer is threefold:
The defining feature of Energy Observer, a genuine floating laboratory, is that it operates with a mix of renewable energies: wind, solar and hydrogen produced from seawater. The following technologies can be found on board:
Thanks to these energy sources, seawater is transformed into hydrogen for the first time.
The two floats of the catamaran serve as technical rooms and integrate the entire hydrogen production line. An onboard system allows seawater to be collected, desalinated and deionized. Once purified, the water molecules are decomposed to obtain hydrogen. Lastly, a fuel cell transforms the molecules into electricity and heat as needed. This process generates neither greenhouse gases nor particulate matter.
The efficiency and performance of this complete hydrogen chain in a potentially hostile marine environment will validate its application and development for other large-scale applications, maritime as well as on land, mobile as well as stationary.
Energy Observer chose complementary storage systems: short-term storage in a set of Li-Ion batteries, and eight hydrogen tanks for long-term storage. These tanks, with a capacity of 332 liters can store a total of 62 kg of hydrogen, which provides the same energy as 230 liters of fuel. The global net energy stored is 1 MWh. The engineers initially planned to place this bulky storage in the hulls of the catamaran, but they finally decided to distribute the tanks in external well decks on each wing. This ensures the tanks are in a watertight environment, protected from sea spray, prevents confinement, and facilitates handling for maintenance. It did, however, require complex calculations for the weight distribution and the tank support design.
Air Liquide masters the entire hydrogen supply chain, from production and storage to distribution and the development of applications for end users, thus contributing to the widespread use of hydrogen as a clean energy.
With its Blue Hydrogen program, Air Liquide is gradually shifting toward the decarbonized production of hydrogen and has made a commitment to produce at least 50% of the hydrogen necessary for these applications through carbon-free processes by 2020, by combining the use of renewable energies, water electrolysis, and biogas reforming; and the use of technologies for the capture and upgrading of carbon emitted during the process of producing hydrogen from natural gas.
Support for Energy Observer also illustrates the Group’s desire to contribute to a more sustainable world.
All pictures on this page: © Energy Observer - Jérémy Bidon, Amélie Conty, Marta Sostres and Antoine Drancey
Article published on November 14, 2017