The world’s first energy self-sufficient seagoing vessel powered by hydrogen, Energy Observer, has arrived in London marking its 47th stopover.
After more than 18,000 nautical miles covered since its launch in June 2017, Energy Observer reached the British capital yesterday – its final stopover of its 2019 Northern Europe tour – and H2 View was there to see it sail under the iconic Tower Bridge.
The vessel will be docked under Tower Bridge until Sunday 13th October. It is accompanied by its travelling exhibition installed at St. Katherine Docks, which is freely accessible to the general public.
Over its six-year journey, Energy Observer will visit 50 countries, totalling 101 stopovers. The mission of this world tour, led by Victorien Erussard and Jérôme Delafosse, is to test the energies of tomorrow under extreme conditions, while navigating toward concrete solutions for the planet.
What a year 2019 has been for Energy Observer. After an inaugural tour of France (2017) and a particularly hot tour of the Mediterranean (2018), the experimental catamaran set off in March to tackle the high latitudes with two objectives: to immerse its technologies in climatic conditions radically different from those of 2018, and to discover the innovations and challenges of Northern Europe, Scandinavia and Russia.
The past eight months has seen Energy Observer visit Flanders, Belgium (April) – a key area for maritime transport; Hamburg, Germany (April/May) – a region boasting the launch of the first-ever hydrogen train; Scandinavia (May/June) – the engine behind the hydrogen revolution; the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago (August), considered by the scientific community as ground zero of climate change – arguably the most symbolic stopover of its Northern Europe Odyssey; and Norway (September) – a country deploying a radical strategy towards electric and especially hydrogen transport to become a world leader in these technologies.
Prior to arriving in London, Energy Observer spent some time in Aberdeen, Scotland, where the crew welcomed the various clean initiatives Scotland and the Orkney Islands that have made an exemplary turn to green.
An ambassador for the hydrogen revolution
A reconditioned former legendary racing boat, Energy Observer is now a veritable experimental platform for future energies. With a combination of three sources of renewable energies (sun, wind and hydro-kinetic) and two forms of storage (batteries and hydrogen), it is a symbol of an energetic revolution already moving ahead, adapted to all territories and all latitudes.
Energy Observer’s mission is to test these cutting-edge technologies in extreme conditions, to allow concrete feedback of experience on this intelligent energy system. That’s why after each sailing campaign, the vessel returns to its base to optimise and upgrade its high-tech systems.
The catamaran is the first vessel in the world that is capable of producing hydrogen onboard using seawater by electrolysis. By undertaking an autonomous world tour thanks to this innovative energy system, Energy Observer is demonstrating the performance of hydrogen to decision makers, companies and citizens, in order to promote its large-scale deployment in the decades to come.
Only halfway through its historic journey, the next three years will see the floating laboratory of tomorrow’s energies tour North-East Asia in 2020, the Pacific and American West Coast in 2021, before ending up in Central America and the American East Coasts in 2022.