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In an effort to raise awareness on green renewable energy on a global scale, two French adventurers are planning the journey of a lifetime. Offshore Racer and Merchant Navy Officer Victorien Erussard and Jeroma Delafosse, an experienced professional driver and documentary maker, will sail around the world in a boat named the Energy Observer, which will run entirely on renewable energy. Hoping their upcoming trek will prove hydrogen is an effective source of renewable fuel, the adventurous duo will literally power their boat using the elements they encounter along their voyage.

Having partnered with French research company CEA-LITEN, the Energy Observer has an array of technological features feared towards harvesting renewable energy in a variety of different ways. The watercraft will contain 130 square meters of solar panels, two wind turbines, a traction kite, two reversible electric motors, and a hydrogen fuel system that uses decarbonized water. The Energy Observer will use hydrogen tanks to store their fuel instead of a battery, and is the first nautical vehicle of its kind to make a voyage this ambitious.

“The problem is that 95 percent of the hydrogen that you use already is made out of fossil energies,” says Delafosse. “We will produce hydrogen onboard from the ocean, we will clean and purify the water and then we will electrolyze it and then compress it in tank storage.”

An ex-racing catamaran, the watercraft weighs approximately 30 tons, making it three times lighter than the MS Turanor PlanetSolar, the last boat to circumnavigate the globe running exclusively on solar power. While the Energy Observer can travel at a speed up to 42 knots (three times faster than the Turanor PlanetSolar), Delafosse and Erussard expect the boat to travel an average of 8-10 knots during the course of its journey.

The Energy Observer’s journey around the world is expected to take six years, compared to the Turanor PlanetSolar, which only took 18 months. While the annual costs of the journey are projected to be in the $4 million range, the costs are worthwhile for Delafosse and Erussard, who will make 101 stops in 50 countries to showcase the Energy Observer’s features and energy harnessing capabilities.

“We can use this technology in hotels, in houses, in cars…the idea is to be less dependent on the network,” says Delafosse. “It shows how fast things can happen: as it did in London at the turn of the last century with (moving from) horses to cars, it will happen with renewable energy.”

The Energy Observer will set sail out of Paris in May 2017. After leaving Paris, the Energy Observer will cross the Mediterranean before traversing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

(Image Credit: The Guardian)
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