Alexseal Provides Energy Observer with Innovative Coating Solutions
Over the course of the next six years, the Energy Observer project will visit 50 countries and make over 100 stops on a voyage originating in France. Its mission is to literally travel the world in search for innovative sustainability solutions, while also showcasing some of the latest technologies in renewable energy, such as energy coupling and hydrogen power. Energy Observer is the first self-sufficient vessel with zero greenhouse gas or fine particle emissions, and is powered by hydrogen, solar and wind energies.
Environmental responsibility has been a core value of ALEXSEAL since inception. Mankiewicz Coatings makes good on this by utilizing efficient production methods and supply chains while creating products that conform to, or exceed, the regulatory quality standards of multiple countries and unions. So when the opportunity arose to be part of this massive multi-year sustainability project, there was no hesitation that ALEXSEAL would like to join the cause.
The Energy Observer vessel is an iconic 1983 maxi catamaran that was extended four different times throughout her long racing career to her present 30.5 meter (100’) length. The team naturally chose to “recycle” a known commodity over fabricating a brand new boat. Not only did this minimize the project’s environmental footprint, but also freed up additional resources for research, development and outfitting of an impressive array of high-tech equipment. This includes software and computers performing advanced navigation calculations to best utilize all of the energy producing systems on board. One of the highlights of these systems is the yacht’s ability to extract hydrogen from sea water and then reserve the gas in high pressure tanks for use when solar and wind energies are not available to generate power.
ALEXSEAL supplied both exterior and interior coatings for the project, ranging from fairing to topcoats. Energy Observer boasts 21kW of photovoltaic panels covering 130 square meters (1400 sq. ft.) of the boat’s surface utilizing both conformable and bifacial type solar panels. Even more unique to these solar arrays is the application of both ALEXSEAL’s clear coat and non-slip products over the surface of the panels, making for a safer, more durable deck without sacrificing energy performance. ALEXSEAL also supplied Energy Observer with an exclusive solution for the bottom, which is an eco-friendly alternative to conventional anti-fouling paint.
Veteran offshore racing sailor and Energy Observer’s Captain, Victorien Erussard states, “There is not one miracle solution to combat climate change: there are solutions which we must learn to operate together. That’s what we are doing with Energy Observer: allowing nature’s energies, as well as those of our society, to collaborate. We are bringing, around our project, the knowledge from companies, laboratories, start-ups, and institutions together.”
The promise for a more sustainable future is a strong one, and the Energy Observer is on a path to prove that energy production can be both responsible and renewable. ALEXSEAL, along with hundreds of forwardthinking companies around the globe do our part to create new innovative products that greatly lessen our impact on the environment. The Energy Observer team departed Paris, France in early July 2017, cruising past the Eiffel Tower to begin the project’s six year journey. You can follow the crew’s odyssey and the ALEXSEAL-coated Energy Observer at energy-observer.org and on social media.