Merchant Navy officer and offshore racer Victorien Erussard and Jérôme Delafosse, documentary filmmaker and professional diver, both from France, are embarking on a six-year-long expedition this month aboard the Energy Observer, a self-sustaining autonomous yacht, with much more than a just adventure in their minds.
The main aim of the drawn out expedition is to prove to the world that we can significantly diminish our negative impact on the deteriorating environment and ecosystem by reconciling technology and ecology.
The Energy Observer is a former race boat that has been customized for a specific purpose – to make an experimental boat autonomously capable of producing hydrogen using renewable energies that will go a long way, literally, to prove that with the right technology we can reduce the impact on our environment without compromising on comfort.
The 100-foot long and 42-foot wide catamaran is the first hydrogen seafaring craft in the world, designed by CEA-LITEN in partnership with a team of naval architects, to completely cut off the emission of greenhouse gasses that are the main culprits responsible for our environmental woes.
The innovative technology incorporated in the design enables the Energy Observer to convert seawater into hydrogen employing the combined energies of three types of solar panels with a surface area of 130 square meters, 2 vertical axis wind turbines, 1 traction kite and 2 reversible hydrogenation electric motors making it completely autonomous.
Florence Lambert, ‘Directrice du CEA-Liten’ had this to say about Energy Observer: “It’s a wonderful project in terms of my work as a researcher because this is an opportunity for me to allow my technologies to leave the laboratories and go out into this modern Calypso that is Energy Observer.”
Nicolas Hulot, president of “Foundation Nicolas Hulot Pour La Nature Et L’Homme” said: “We have traveling proof that in reality, we can reconcile ourselves with nature and that nature can be the best conveyor of the energy solutions of tomorrow.
While it may boast of a unique technology – first of its kind – it’s not the first ever energy efficient craft dedicated to innovative technology for a better environment with a message in support of renewable energies. Solar Impulse, the first solar plane, Planet Solar, the first solar electric vehicle to go around the world, and Tara, that has traversed the oceans of the world since 2007 in the interest of science and the environment come to mind as examples.
The two-member team of Victorien Erussard and Jérôme Delafosse will start their 6-year long transatlantic and transpacific expedition spanning 101 ports in 50 countries aboard the futuristic vessel sometime this month, starting with a traverse across the Mediterranean Sea.
There are two basic purposes of the whole exercise: to test the technologies incorporated in the Energy Observer in the harsh conditions at sea and, broadly, to seek innovative solutions to environmental issues by meeting committed people, in the 101 ports of call, who are dedicated “today to draw the world of tomorrow.”
The expedition team hopes to cover smart megacities and UNESCO biosphere reserves and all that can come in between to meet its two-pronged expedition agenda. It will be a 6-year globe-traversing voyage to foster a community above and beyond frontiers.
“I have always sailed for the thrill of the competition, and today I have decided to sail for another reason, out of commitment for our planet,” said Erussard with reference to the Energy Observer expedition.