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The Energy Observer Working Its Way To San Francisco!

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  • The Energy Observer Working Its Way To San Francisco!

    Innovation to accelerate energy transition

    Energy Observer is a laboratory where engineers, researchers and scientists are developing innovations, which will make renewable energies a reality for
    all. With this in mind, they put to the test the latest, cutting-edge technologies in terms of hydrogen,batteries, solar and wind power and hydroelectricity
    production in the most demanding and at times hostile environment known to man: the ocean.

    These are tried-and-tested technologies optimised over the course of a voyage spanning more than 30,000 nautical miles. The variety and
    diversity of renewable energies are central to resilient zero-carbon energy systems developed by our engineers with the support of our manufacturing
    partners. The development of reliable, sustainable, noise-free, affordable energy solutions forms the nub of the challenges faced by this odyssey.

    A journey of exploring into the initiatives changing our world

    The mission of Energy Observer

    The Energy Observer adventure is also a historic 7-year Odyssey to meet the pioneers who are innovating to save the planet by reinventing agriculture,
    energy, economy, mobility, and by finding solutions to protect biodiversity. Positive and concrete innovations that are already working and show
    that another world and another future is possible. As the first French ambassador of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN in 2015,
    Energy Observer carry France's message on the need to preserve the planet everywhere in the world.

    Raising awareness among all

    At each stopover, the team meet women and men who are carrying out local and replicable projects. "Energy Observer Solutions" is the showcase for
    this ecosystem of committed players around the world, thanks to short films broadcast freely on a dedicated platform. The Ministry of the Ecological
    Transition, Ademe, the International Association of Universities, Unesco and SDSN support the project in identifying pioneers and solutions around the

    Furthermore, at each major stopover of this Odyssey, the team is deploying an open-access exhibition village designed to raise awareness among all audiences
    of the challenges of the energy and ecological transition. Families, students, elected officials and local industrial decision-makers, all are invited to dive into the
    Energy Observer adventure of playful and immersive way. This travelling exhibition welcomes each year nearly 100,000 people.

    Focus on the 10,000 nautical miles of navigation in 2020

    In an uncertain global context due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 program of the Odyssey had been completely revised, and the main stopovers, notably in Tokyo during the Olympic Games or on the Californian coast, postponed.

    These events did not prevent our vessel and her crew from continuing its long-distance research missions, the longest since 2017.

    all images © Energy Observer Productions

    After a 27-day sea passage from the Galapagos Islands, a Unesco biosphere reserve, having covered nearly 3,000 nautical miles entirely
    self-sufficiently, Energy Observer navigated the Los Angeles River, greeting the majestic ‘Queen Mary’ along the way. Full of contrasts,
    the symbolic encounter echoed the sea change in operation between the past maritime world and its carbon-free counterpart of the
    future: going from an historic ocean liner to a zero-emissions laboratory vessel, which draws its energy from nature whilst preserving

    More than 10,000 nautical miles in 2020
    In 2020, the vessel made the longest sailings in her history with her first transatlantic crossing and the exploration of overseas territories as far as French Guiana, covering more than 10,000 nautical miles. A performance achieved thanks to the total energy autonomy of the onboard systems, an example of resilience that is particularly well suited to the current situation and reassuring for the continuation of the Odyssey.

    A reliable energy mix

    On board technologies, combining multiple sources -solar, wind and hydropower- and forms of storage, batteries and above all hydrogen, are the forerunners of tomorrow's smart energy grids, which can be reproduced on a large scale, everywhere and for everyone.

    Hydrogen, the keystone of the Energy Observer system

    While maritime and land mobility meet ever-increasing demands for power, speed and reliability, hydrogen is currently the only energy carrier that offers a credible alternative to fossil fuels without impacting the environment. By testing an energy system based on a mix of renewable energies and hydrogen produced on board this ship, Energy Observer is paving the way for multiple land and maritime applications that can be replicated at the level of a user, a neighbourhood or even an entire city.

    The 2020 Energy balance

    In 2020, our ship traveled nearly 11,000 nautical miles at an average speed of 4.4 knots. It's still slow, but it's improving year after year. We must not forget that we only consume the energy produced on board! This reminds us on a small scale that we cannot live on energy credit, and that it is more important to go far than to go fast.

    In addition, photovoltaics and wind power have taken a significant place in the energy mix this year. This is essentially due to the fact that we sailed in the trade winds where there is a lot of wind and sun. Hydrogen was less useful because we were often at the maximum of our storage capacity, with full tanks. This was not to the displeasure of the crew, who could afford a certain comfort, notably by using the air conditioning.

    As far as consumption is concerned, electric propulsion only accounts for a third of our expenses, the rest being distributed between life on board (25%), control and command (26%), servitudes (15%) and the Oceanwings® system (5%).

    Energy savings could be made on these electrical consumptions; to be monitored for the future 2021 energy balance!

    The 5th optimisation refit, which took place in Le Marin, in Martinique, was geared around preparing the boat and her systems for some even longer passages, including Pacific. The first task involved the simplification and optimization of the hydrogen chain using the high-performance REXH2®, developed by EODev in collaboration with Toyota, which proved its worth over a 2020 route that spanned more than 10,000 nautical miles.

    Note that the REXH2® fuel cell - compressor – inverter set, installed back in 2019, boasts a maximum power output of 60 kW (though it is operated at around 50% of its potential to optimize its output). Its reduced weight and its compactness, teamed with a level of reliability that has been tried and tested on thousands of cars and heavy goods vehicles, mean that a whole array of new applications can be considered.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Working Her Way North

    Energy Explorer is making slow but steady progress up the San Mateo County Coast and is due to arrive at the Golden Gate at 5:50

    She'll dock at Pier 9 adjacent to the Exploratorium and be there until May 13

    Access to the boat will be very limited, but by all means wander down to the pier and take a peek, but climbing aboard is limited to
    media and invited guests...
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      Now Visiting @ Pier 9 On The Embarcadero

      Energy Observer, the vessel of the future due to make a stopover in San Francisco from 10 to 13 May

      © Energy Observer Productions - George Conty

      Energy Observer is a French project that set sail from Saint Malo in northern France in 2017 on a 7-year expedition around the world.
      A world first, Energy Observer is a technological triumph: the laboratory vessel powered by renewable energies and hydrogen, navigates the oceans entirely self-sufficiently in energy and produces her own hydrogen aboard.

      Energy Observer set to make her stopover in San Francisco from 10 to 13 May.
      The first vessel powered by renewable energies and hydrogen, the UN’s French Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals arrived in San Francisco, her 66th stopover on her round the world Odyssey, on 6 May.

      © Energy Observer Productions / Josh Edelson

      Following a stopover at Long Beach from 23 to 28 April, during which the boat played host to a number of the city’s officials, including the Consul General of France, the local harbor authorities, as well as protagonists from the hydrogen and energy industries (California Fuel Cell Partnership, Engie, Air Liquide, Toyota, CMA CGM…), pioneering ecological transition companies like Sole Technology (ETNIES, Emercia, éS and Thirty Two brands), together with students from local schools and universities, the vessel cast off from the new AltaSea campus at the entrance to the port of Long Beach.

      Considered to be the western gateway to the United States, thousands of vessels and trucks converge on this massive port to transport 40% of the goods imported into the USA each year, creating significant carbon emissions in the process. This event, organized with Energy Independence Now, gathered together numerous electro-hydrogen solutions around Energy Observer (including the new FCET (Fuel Cell Electric Truck) developed by Kenworth and Toyota, the new Mirai and terminal tractor), attended by professionals from the domains of energy and hydrogen mobility, media and influencers, as well as key figures and organizers committed to combating climate change (USC Arnold Schwarzenegger Institute, Robert Downey Jr’s Footprint Coalition Foundation and actor Ronen Rubinstein, who is notably an ambassador for Project Zero…).

      After spending several days punching into some particularly difficult weather conditions in a bid to make headway northwards, the boat of the future slipped under the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge and finally entered San Francisco Bay, where the crew received a generous welcome from the Consul General of France in San Francisco and Lieutenant Governor of California, Eleni Kounalakis.

      Lieutenant Governor of California, Eleni Kounalakis: "The Energy Observer is on an incredible journey that is helping people across the world see that projects like this are literally charting the way to a clean energy future. Having the ship here in California is a testament to our shared values, and vision for bringing renewable and clean energy to the maritime industry."

      Frédéric Jung, Consul General of France in San Francisco: “Tomorrow’s energies are not utopias. Energy Observer, which is circumnavigating the globe powered solely by green energies proves this. The fact that this concentration of French technologies is stopping off in San Francisco, the cradle of America’s technological innovations, is sure to create a buzz, especially in light of the fact that California, which is feeling the full force of climate change, is prioritizing energy, just like France.”

      Energy Observer is an experimentation platform, an intelligent boat, powered by renewable energies: sun, wind and marine currents. However, what makes her truly unique is her ability to store her energy in the form of hydrogen produced from the electrolysis of sea water, a technology which enables the vessel to navigate the oceans entirely self-sufficiently in terms of energy, without polluting the environment.

      Elaine Forbes, Port of San Francisco Executive Director: “The Port of San Francisco is proud to welcome Energy Observer to San Francisco. The crew’s important research will help propel maritime operations to a more sustainable future worldwide. The cutting-edge research happening aboard Energy Observer will inform water transit here in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. It is imperative that we develop new technologies and strive to be more energy efficient and improve water and air quality as the San Francisco Bay Area is impacted by sea level rise and climate change.”

      © Energy Observer Productions - George Conty

      © Energy Observer Productions / Josh Edelson

      On the program for this stopover are a number of meetings and events, with the notable hosting of a webinar on the eve of the boat’s arrival, on 5 May, with the California Fuel Cell Partnership, the California Hydrogen Business Council and the California Hydrogen Coalition, attended by Bill Elrick and representatives from Air Liquide, Engie, Toyota and CMA CGM, with the aim of exchanging ideas about the arrival of Energy Observer in California, as well as finding out all about her energy mix and her comprehensive on-board hydrogen production chain. Indeed, now more than ever before, multinational partnerships, technological and industrial cooperation and the complementarity of know-how are essential for speeding up the practical implementation of effective solutions to combat climate change.

      Bill Elrick, Executive Director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership: “It’s thrilling to be able to welcome Energy Observer – a world first – to the Golden State, and to show Californians the role that hydrogen and fuel cell technology can play in energy transition.”

      Victorien Erussard, Captain and Founder of Energy Observer: “We’re very enthusiastic about our arrival in San Francisco after a very busy first American stopover at Long Beach, which was especially symbolic for us as the French ambassador for SDG, just as President Biden was hosting the Leaders Summit on Climate having newly reintegrated the Paris Agreement. The new American plan for 2,000 billion dollars of funding for infrastructure translates as an historic acceleration in green energies. California is really at the forefront of this revolution in energy and hydrogen!”

      Other key events have been and will be hosted at various local scientific and cultural institutions, including one scheduled for 6 May on sustainable development and clean technological innovations organized by the Embassy of France’s Office for Science and Technology in the United States with the NGO Sustainable Ocean Alliance, the first international network of ocean advocates, which is notably joining Energy Observer’s scientific and educational partners. Meetings with the Exploratorium (a science and technology museum) and digital events for the various student cycles with the Consul General of France in San Francisco will round off an extensive and varied program.

      During this stopover, the teams will also continue with their filming and get out and meet protagonists involved in energy and ecological transition.

      © Energy Observer Productions / Josh Edelson

      Dates and stopover venues:

      San Francisco (Pier 9 Embarcadero): from 10 to 13 May.
      NB: The boat can be viewed by the general public but cannot be visited
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        What time is the group booze cruise for PD readers?


        • #5
          Energy Observer Hydrogen Power Propulsion Explained

          The 1st Step:The Water Maker

          As the name suggests, reverse osmosis is the opposite, going from salty water to fresh water. In this process, seawater is forced through a filtering membrane which removes the salt. However, high energy resources are required to maintain water pressure. The fresh water generated by the first level of desalination is used on board. Water from the other levels is used by the on-board hydrogen systems.

          Step 2: TheThe Electrolyser

          Currently, 95% of the world’s hydrogen supply is from fossil fuel, through a reforming process using methane, the main component of natural gas. Electrolysis using a renewable energy source is a solution for the future use of green hydrogen on a large scale.

          Step 3 : The Compressor The Compressor

          Hydrogen has a very high energy content: for the same weight, it contains up to three times more energy than diesel, and 2.5 times more than natural gas. That said, we know how to store natural gas in tanks or pipelines. Storing hydrogen is more difficult.

          Step 4: Hydrogen Storage Tanks

          Eight tanks with a capacity of 332 L store a total of 63 kg of hydrogen, which provides the same energy as 230L of fuel. The global net energy stored is 1 MWh.

          The engineers initially planned to place this bulky storage in the hulls of the catamaran, but they finally decided to distribute the tanks in external well decks on each wing.

          This ensures the tanks are in a watertight environment, protected from sea spray, prevents confinement, and facilitates handling for maintenance. It did, however, require complex calculations for the weight distribution and the tank support design.

          Step 5: Converting Hydrogen into electricity:Fuel Cell System

          Toyota develops and delivers specially designed Fuel Cell System to Energy Observer, the first hydrogen vessel to sail around the world .Toyota has been involved in the Energy Observer project from the start, because of hydrogen being at the very heart of this amazing journey. During a six-year odyssey, which started in 2017, the Energy Observer team is navigating the first energy-autonomous hydrogen boat around the globe. The electrically propelled vessel of the future operates by using a mix of renewable energies and a system that produces carbon-free hydrogen from seawater.

          Step 6: Battery Storage

          Battery storage
          The main set of batteries feed the electric motors via the 400-volt network. The capacity of 112 kWh is optimised: it’s only 2.5 times more than the type of battery used for an electric car like Renault’s Zoe!

          Another set of 18 kWh batteries powers the 24-volt low-voltage network and every-day facilities on board: electronic navigation, on-board computer, lighting, comfort, security, etc. Great care was taken to make sure the two networks do not interfere with each other. For example, the engineers had to add several power converters to an even supply of electricity from the different sources (photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, etc.). Lastly, all the wiring was simplified to reduce on-line power loss, and to reduce the size of energy storage and supply systems.

          Step 7: Propulsion

          The Energy Observer is propelled by two electric motors, each with 42 kW, providing a total of 115 horsepower. The motors, designed by Phase Automation, have very high output (97%), which also contributes to reducing the boat’s energy requirements, and ultimately the size of the storage and energy production systems aboard.
          Last edited by Photoboy; 05-11-2021, 07:07 PM.
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


          • #6
            Energy Observer's SF Visit

            The 100' Sailing Catamaran Energy Observer sailed into San Francisco Bay on Friday May 8th and quietly made it's way to Pier 9 on the San Francisco Embarcadero.

            The Maxi Cat has a lengthy history of voyages and records prior to becoming the worlds 1st sailing vessel with autonomous means of producing hydrogen on board and without emitting greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energies.

            Originally named Formule Tag, this maxi-catamaran was built by Canadair in Québec, Canada in 1983, under the supervision of Canadian skipper Mike Birch and British designer Nigel Irens. The yacht was built to compete in the inaugural Transat Québec-Saint-Malo—a trans-North Atlantic sailing race celebrating Jacques Cartier's 1534 voyage from Saint-Malo, France, to present day Québec City.

            It was the largest sailing catamaran of its time, with a length of 85 feet, and participated in a number of races. In 1984 Birch and crew sailed her to a new record for a Day's run, sailing 512 nautical miles in 24 hours.

            In 1993, Formule Tag was purchased by Robin Knox-Johnston and future two-time America's Cup winner Peter Blake. The two skippers renamed her ENZA New Zealand (ENZA an acronym for Eat New Zealand Apples). The two launched a 1993 attempt (thwarted by damage) on the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest sail circumnavigation of the world. They captured the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994, circling the globe in 74 days 22 hours 17 minutes and 22 seconds.

            By 1998, British skipper Tracy Edwards had bought the yacht and renamed her Royal & SunAlliance. Edwards and crew set a new record for an all-female crew sailing across the North Atlantic, at 9 days 11 hours 21 minutes and 55 seconds. Tracy and her crew broke a total of seven world records with the Royal & SunAlliance, including a Channel Record that stood for three years. During their attempt to win the Jules Verne Trophy, the Royal & SunAlliance was dismasted in the Southern Ocean.

            In 2000, Tony Bullimore purchased the yacht, renamed her Team Legato, and lengthened her to 100 feet. Team Legato participated in the 2000/2001 circumnavigation sailing competition The Race, finishing fifth of the seven teams entered.

            By 2005, Bullimore had renamed her Daedalus. While Daedalus finished second, of four yachts, in the 2005 Oryx Quest circumnavigation sailing competition, Bullimore set a record during the South Atlantic leg at 11 days 10 hours 22 minutes and 13 seconds.

            In 2006, Tony Bullimore renamed her again to Doha, and took her into another attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy – abandoning the attempt due to mechanical failure.

            By 2009, skipper Bullimore had renamed the yacht Spirit of Antigua.

            The catamaran was entirely renovated in 2000 for The Race. It received new stems, making the hulls 4.6 metres longer.

            Another renovation in 2017 converted the boat to a hydrogen-powered vessel, the Energy Observer.
            By 2012, she was degraded to near rubbish as indicated by this YACHTING WORLD ARTICLE

            The mission of Energy Observer is to blaze the trail, as it were onto a path of achievable self reliance using wind, solar and hydrogen power, and in the 5 years since it was launched, they are well on their way!

            Numerous trials have come and gone, including a failed attempt to use kite power, which required too many strings and gear to handle, plus the very real possibility of running over the kite and tangling the lines
            in the rigging and motors. A helix style wind generator was attempted as well, but became clearly evident that it was a zero sum game, with the drag caused by the rotors cancelling out any energy they produced. The 1st fuel cell was ground breaking, but only lasted 371 hours. Issues with the desalinization units, the electrolyser have lead to new and improved designs to date.

            The current wing foil system, two Oceanwings®, rotating, self-supporting and 100% automated, which will increase the vessel’s speed and produce hydrogen during navigation by electrolysis of sea water. A technology never before tested on such a large boat, and which could well revolutionize maritime transport. More Info

            You may ask why not a conventional rig? For many reasons, one being the shadow that the sails will cast on the solar panels on the deck, and also the need for space to store all the sails and the running
            rigging. Efficiency? The wings can propel the boat at 5 knots under normal conditions allowing the solar panels to work free of any load, charging the batteries and producing hydrogen, running the electronics
            making fresh water and other components!

            Angle of attack? 15 knot or less, 30-45 degrees, in 25 to 35 somewhere in the 20 to 25 degree range!

            Our guide for day, Dr Katia Nicolet explains the solar panel technology!

            The 202 square meters of solar panel cover every exterior surface and are the latest most durable made. The ones on surfaces one might tread are incased on a special vinyl covering that protects
            them from damage. There are others incased on a glass panel on the side trampolines ( No walking allowed) which allows both sides to collect solar gain, the bottom side from mostly refraction.

            Energy Observer controls all the functions via the:EMS:

            This is the brain of the vessel’s energy supply. Combining multiple intermittent renewable energy sources and storage is one thing. Optimising their use to propel the boat and ensure the crew’s comfort is another! This is where the Energy Management System (EMS) comes in. It is a set of automated machines which command and coordinate all the systems, and is driven by the human pilots using an on-board computer. Rockwell, American leader in industrial automation and partner in the Energy Observer project, contributed their experience and many software solutions.

            You can read more about the energy systems HERE

            Energy Observer departs for Hawaii on the 13th and will later visit Asia and continue its journeys from there....
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

   Photo Gallery


            • #7
              Interesting project!

              Thanks for sharing!