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SELF-FUELLING A NEW EXPERIMENTAL VESSEL COULD OFFER SOLUTIONS FOR EMISSIONFREE SHIPS OF THE FUTURE

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n environmental and economic terms, a vessel that powers itself while carrying no fuel would appear to represent the Holy Grail as far as most ship designers and owners are concerned. The fact that just such a vessel set sail in July on a sixyear global journey is exciting, to say the least. For commercial shipping,

though, the wait continues because the vessel in question is the Energy Observer, a former racing boat that has been converted by a team of nearly 50 engineers, designers and naval architects. Nonetheless, the technologies deployed on the boat may attract considerable interest for commercial shipping in the

Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery | August/September 2017

future. This is becauise the vessel uses a combination of a hydrogen fuel-cell system, solar panels and wind turbines to sail throughout its voyage spanning 50 countries and 101 stopovers. The Energy Observer has been dubbed the ‘Solar Impulse of the seas,’ recalling the historic solar-powered plane that circumnavigated the world between March 2015 and July 2016. Much like the Solar Impulse project, the Energy Observer is a way of showing how new eco-friendly technologies can be put to practical use. The entire undertaking is intended to be a floating demonstration of an autonomous, selfsufficient seafaring vessel

that will be able to indefinitely traverse the globe in all weather conditions. The Energy Observer project revolves around the desire to find concrete, innovative solutions that help make the case for energy transition. The US$5.25 million, 30.5m boat was originally designed in 1983 for racing, and enjoyed success in open-sea sailing before its owners and captains, Frederic Dahirel and Victorien Erussard, teamed up with researchers, engineers, architects, and others to convert it into the Energy Observer project. The boat traded the standard solar battery for its hydrogen tanks, making it almost a third of the

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Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery August/September 2017  

Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery provides the technical, operational and project teams that work for the ship owner/operator/manager...

Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery August/September 2017  

Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery provides the technical, operational and project teams that work for the ship owner/operator/manager...