Energy and Natural Resources

Self-fueling Boat to Circumnavigate the Globe

16 July 2017

The self-fueling Energy Observer has started a six-year, round-the-world journey that its designers hope serves as a model for emissions-free energy networks. Image credit: AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, FileThe self-fueling Energy Observer has started a six-year, round-the-world journey that its designers hope serves as a model for emissions-free energy networks. Image credit: AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, FileA six-year, round-the-world journey is now underway for the Energy Observer. The former race boat has been retrofitted as a self-fueling vessel and is equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, solar panels and wind turbines.

The 100-foot-long vessel relies on solar and wind energy during the day. At night, it harnesses a reservoir of hydrogen that the boat itself produces through electrolysis of seawater. The 5 million-euro ($5.25 million) boat left Paris on July 15 on an itinerary that includes 50 countries and 101 stopovers.

The crew plans to visit capital cities that are already engaged in energy transition programs, islands that are completely energetically autonomous, threatened ecosystems and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

You can follow the progress of the Energy Observer here.



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Discussion – 2 comments

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Re: Self-Fueling Boat to Circumnavigate the Globe
#1
2017-Jul-17 8:26 AM

Not exactly confidence instilling.

I guestimate about 12 or 13 kW worth of solar panels....but assume 15 kW just for fun.

Those vertical axis wind turbines aren't very efficient for their size and aren't very big to begin with....these will probably produce far more resistance to forward movement that offsetting power anytime going up wind.

The hydrogen by electrolysis has to be power from something....must be the solar panels.

Okay, so assume that all the solar power goes to propulsion either directly or via lossless batteries or lossless electrolysis and use of H2. Assume the equivalent of 8 hours of direct overhead clear sky sun every 24 hour period.

With those generous assumptions that allows an average of 5 kW or under 7 hp for propulsion of this sizeable boat. Just 7 hp.

Better stay away from gust winds and open water.

Re: Self-Fueling Boat to Circumnavigate the Globe
#2
In reply to #1
2017-Jul-17 9:03 AM

Assume double and 15 HP... That's rip roarin' in a canoe.

With a six year schedule they might be floating around with the prevailing winds and currents more than actual circumnavigation?

..now i need to look into it.. Thanks!

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