Hydrogen-powered vessel showcasing efficiency of clean fuel
The hydrogen-powered Energy Observer vessel docked in Long Beach, Calif., last month, its latest stop on a six-year journey around the globe.
The Energy Observer is the first vessel of its kind to generate and be powered entirely by hydrogen and appears on its way to accomplishing a goal of proving the efficiency of using renewable energy as fuel.
“We designed her to prove that entirely decarbonized, decentralized and digitized energy is possible, and that such a virtuous circle is achievable,” reads the Energy Observer organization’s website.
The Energy Observer organization has partnered with shipping company CMA CGM to promote the possibility of using hydrogen and other clean-energy fuel alternatives on a large scale.
The shipping industry is currently responsible for around 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions while accounting for around 90% of all global trade by volume.
“The Energy Observer partnership featuring U.S. stopovers is yet another symbol of the CMA CGM Group’s commitment to propelling energy transition,” said Ed Aldridge, President of CMA CGM America and APL North America.
The Energy Observer launched from Saint-Malo Port in France in April 2017, with an expectation to visit 50 countries in total.
The vessel produces hydrogen on board using a process called seawater electrolysis, and uses the sun, wind, and hydropower to support its energy systems, while utilizing li-ion batteries for short-term storage and hydrogen for long-term storage.
The Energy Observer was originally a racing boat but was reconditioned by a team of more than 30 architects, designers, and engineers to make the project possible.
“Energy Observer is now considered as an innovative and major player in the sector,” the Energy Observer organization’s website reads. “A currently ongoing significant fundraising campaign will make it possible to finance the development of pioneering and ambitious industrial projects aiming at accelerating the transfer of technologies from Energy Observer Boat to a wide range of uses.”
Hydrogen is considered a limitless energy source that can generate more than four times the energy of coal and three times that of diesel, without the harmful fine particle emissions or greenhouse gas creation.