Inspired by the project ‘Solar Impulse’ – a plane that completed a trip around the globe using only solar energy – the Energy Observer is a former racing yacht that is solely powered by the sun, wind and self-generated hydrogen. The goal of this project is to sharpen peoples’ awareness that energy can be drawn from nature without damaging and wasting it. Energy Observer has begun its world tour in 2017 and has since then already shown its capabilities. The tour is expected to come to an end in 2022.
The idea to support this expedition was born in Saint-Malo (France) when project leader, skipper and ALEXSEAL® friend Victorien Erussard presented the project to the Mankiewicz France team. As a supplier for renewable energy markets, we at ALEXSEAL are always focused on pushing forward sustainable products and innovative technologies. Therefore, we are proud to be on board with this project. The boat, a modification of a former racing catamaran that was originally built in 1983, has nowadays a total length of 31 meters. ALEXSEAL supplied both exterior and interior paint. The portfolio encompassed all products from fairing to topcoats; always following the aim of supplying a long-lasting coating with a glossy shine that would meet the requirements of this project.
The boat is only powered by renewable energy sources like solar and wind. The two energy sources are producing electricity through cellular cells, two vertical windmills and a big kite sail which is connected to a Hydro generator. This means the boat’s speed is used to turn an immersed propeller which in the end produces electricity contributing to the propulsion of the boat.
The energy is stored with the help of batteries or with hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of desalinated water. The electric motors will then be fed either directly from the batteries or by a fuel cell using the oxidation of the hydrogen (stored) and the reduction of the air’s oxygen. In any weather conditions or during the night the boat will be powered. Consequently, this vessel will not use any carbon-emitting fossil fuels.
We wish the Energy Observer and its team good luck for the rest of the tour and hope that the knowledge achieved through this expedition will help in protecting our environment in the future.