Energy Observer is a vessel that runs on the energy it generates itself using its onboard solar panels, wind turbines or a hydrogen fuel cell. Started in 2016 it has completed half of its journey of six years as a floating laboratory and an evangelist for clean energy.
It is covered with 168 square meters of solar panels, both laminated onto the shell and in strong racks over the structure. The latter is double-sided so it also picks up light reflected from the surface of the water. It generates a peak output of 28kWh energy that can keep onboard batteries charged.
It has 126kWh of batteries on board out of which 100kWh is used to run the motors and the remaining 26kWh is used for crew comfort which includes light and heating on the boat it also keeps running the labor-saving devices like coffee machine, dishwasher and washing machine.
The 100kWh battery keeps the two 45kW propellers that run the boat at a top speed of 11 knots per hour, when the battery drops to 60% the hydrogen fuel cells starts to generate the power required to keep it running continuously.
Using Hydrogen as a power source is logically best since the hydrogen is present in the seawater in a very high quantity. It stores 62kg of Hydrogen in a tank at 300 bar pressure Project manager Louis Noël Vivies says can run the ship for three days.
EO’s 2020 Tour when it goes to Atlantic next year it will have new solar cells which will extend its peak output from 29kWh to 32kWh which hopefully be enough to run the electrolyzer while in motion.
Its mission is to tour 101 places in 50 countries around the world in six years and display what could be the future of sea transportation.