The catamaran Energy Observer, the first boat powered by renewable energy and hydrogen.

 

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The catamaran Energy Observer, the first boat powered by renewable energy and hydrogen, docked yesterday in Valencia in the thirtieth stop of a scheduled trip around the world. However, the trail it leaves behind is one of pure innovation. The Energy Observer is immersed in a six-year journey called “Odyssey for the Future” in which it will travel through 50 countries and 101 stops in which it pursues the technological and scientific challenge of demonstrating that sustainability is the technology of the future. The boat, 30 meters long and 13 meters wide, is a floating laboratory that belonged to Peter Blake, winner of the America’s Cup, and that represents the desire to “not want to die” and “always be at the forefront of technology.

The Energy Observer, which has travelled 10,000 miles – around 20,000 km – uses solar and wind energy “directly” and water “transforming” it, since the ship has systems that convert seawater into hydrogen, which is used in the propulsion and operation of the boat, a natural alternative that they work on “making accessible soon” to replace fossil fuels, which “are about to come to an end,” said founder and captain Victorien Erussard…. “Twenty percent of the world’s CO2 emissions come from transporting these fossil fuels, a problem that can be solved by harnessing nature’s energy, as this project demonstrates.

At these expedition sites, meetings are organised with scientists, engineers and other sailors to exchange knowledge about this energy system which, according to Erussard, is applicable on a small and large scale to maritime, land and rail transport, as well as sectors such as housing and industry. Erussard has defended that the ship “demonstrates that it is possible” to sail without emissions of carbon dioxide or fine particles (highly polluting), as well as without the noise with which commercial ships usually emit, harmful to marine ecosystems: “it is not about the future, but the present”, a conviction he became aware of during his time as a sailor and marine in which he sailed the ocean on the edge of commercial vessels.

The project has a budget of about 5 million euros develops a renewable energy alternative that, according to Erussard, is having a good reception among the shipping, and could accelerate exponentially in the next ten years. Its informative side is also materialized with the spaces provided by its team of scientists in the ports where it docks, where the curious can learn about the energy system of the ship, but only through virtual reality, as it does not allow public access. It has also been disseminated through social networks and videos accessible on the Internet in which they contribute their findings on energy, one of the tasks that Erussard carries out as French ambassador -appointed by the Galician Ministry of Ecological Transition- of the objectives of sustainable development of the UN.

The Energy Observer will be in Valencia until 6 September, when it will sail to Tangier, Lisbon and Saint Malo, its starting point.