As time passes, man is starting to focus more and more on using Earth’s natural resources to his advantage. Among them, solar energy and the wind prevail.
Who would have ever thought technology advancement would lead us here? The creation of the Energy Observer is proof if it.
Based solely on the use of wind power, generated hydrogen and solar radiations, researchers are awaiting its big day.
Solar Energy Powers Boat. What’s Next?
Scheduled to take place in February, the “Solar Impulse of the Sea” will navigate around the globe using only natural resources. Worth about $4.72 million, scientists claim it will sail for 6 whole years just by floating.
Will this new challenge end with a success just like the first flight based on solar energy which ended this past June? Or will it fail?
Director of the experiment Jerome Delafosse had this to say:
“For the first time, Energy Observer will allow us to explore the oceans without leaving any trace behind us.”
According to them, the explorations of the ocean has never been so easy.
First of all, important to note is that the vessel is, in fact, a reshape of an older model. Known for winning the 1994 Jules Verne trophy for fastest boat to circle the globe, “Solar Impulse of the Sea” is roughly 30 m in length and 12.80 wide.
While currently situated in France, the boat is constantly receiving upgrade changes as we speak. Research has it that about 130 solar panels, two reversible electric motors and wind turbines represent just some main parts of the boat known to work on green energy.
Why all this? It could not be simpler – to help store and at the same time produce hydrogen onboard.
— Energy Observer (@energy_observer) September 9, 2016
Green Power May be Just the Beginning
As Delafosse answered for the Tribune de Genève, “hydrogen is not a fuel but a way of storing energy.” Furthermore, he states:
“Instead of batteries, we fill high-pressure hydrogen tanks and the hydrogen can power our fuel cell and generate electricity.”
Secondly, ENSTA Bretagne does not fail to remind people that the boat will be the first in the world able to produce oxygen on its entire surface. The desalination of the sea water is what makes the process possible.
As a result, using solar energy, the boat would entirely power itself.
The voyage is on its way, as Agence France-Presse notes:
“We are going to be the first boat with an autonomous means of producing hydrogen,” says Frenchman Victorien Erussard, who is behind the project—confidential until now—with compatriot Jacques Delafosse, a documentary filmmaker and professional scuba diver.
The plan is for the boat’s batteries, which will feed the electric motors, to be powered in good weather by solar and wind energy, explained the 37-year-old merchant navy officer.
“If there’s no sun or wind, or if it’s night, stored hydrogen—generated by electrolysis powered by the solar panels and two wind turbines—will take over.”
What is there more to say? The trip arranged for the boat could, in fact, make a great difference in today’s world.
Unlike the “Solar Impulse of the Sea” and its green energy source, 96% of boats use carbon-emitting fossil fuels.
Waiting for the Big Day
Until this very moment, statistics look good. The partnership made with the CEA-Liten in Grenoble research institute appears to have prospered into what could be a huge accomplishment for man kind.
“Energy Observer is emblematic of what will be the energy networks of tomorrow, with solutions that could even be used within five years,” CEA-Liten director Florence Lambert said. “For example, the houses of tomorrow could incorporate a system of hydrogen storage, which is produced during the summer months and then used in the winter.”
The vessel will not only operate with solar power. It will also gain energy from water and wind. Erussard has given us some more detailed information in the video.
He stated that: “The aim is actually to achieve energy self-sufficiency”. He also added that “This self-sufficiency can be transferred to land applications such as buildings, schools, hotels and so on”.
Right now, all we can do is wait. In February, we will discover if our world can actually convert to clean energy and stop harming the planet.