The $25 million catamaran, Energy Observer, has begun its six-year sail around the world, running on wind and solar power, and hydrogen generated from seawater through electrolysis.
Solar panels cover 130 square metres across the top of the ship, with two large wind turbines towards the rear. However, it is the electrolysis system that extracts hydrogen from seawater, stored in an onboard tank, that is the main innovation.
Expedition leader Jérôme Delafosse said, ‘When are we over-producing energy, when we have a lot of wind and sun, the idea was not to waste this energy and to just keep it on board. Hydrogen is the best way to do this because it’s very light and the efficiency of hydrogen is three times more than just fuel.’
Energy Observer will visit 50 countries across its six-year journey.