Green Ma­chine


Power & Motor Yacht - - WATER FRONT -

In pur­suit of a sus­tain­able fu­ture, the first ves­sel to be pow­ered by hy­dro­gen and other re­new­able en­ergy sources em­barked on a six-year tour around the globe. The French ves­sel, En­ergy Ob­server, plans to make 101 stops in 50 coun­tries to dis­play its en­ergy in­de­pen­dence and of­fer a so­lu­tion for a greener fu­ture.

The 100-foot cata­ma­ran is ac­tu­ally a re­fit of a 1983 rac­ing ves­sel. She won the Jules Verne tro­phy for team sail­ing around the world in 1994 un­der her for­mer name, For­mule Tag, and is now serv­ing as a model for emis­sions-free trans­porta­tion. On board are six cab­ins, each equipped with a head and a clean-en­ergy lab­o­ra­tory.

En­ergy Ob­server runs on wind power, so­lar power, and hy­dro­gen gen­er­ated from sea­wa­ter through elec­trol­y­sis. So­lar pan­els cover 1,400 square feet of the ves­sel, and it’s fur­ther equipped with two wind tur­bines at the rear and two re­versible elec­tric mo­tors. It’s the first boat with com­pletely au­ton­o­mous means of pro­duc­ing hy­dro­gen, ac­cord­ing to the French en­gi­neer­ing in­sti­tute, ENSTA Bre­tagne, which spon­sored the project.

“The aim is ac­tu­ally to achieve en­ergy self­suf­fi­ciency. This self-suf­fi­ciency can be trans­ferred to land ap­pli­ca­tions, such as build­ings, schools, ho­tels, and so on,” says Capt. Vic­to­rien Erus­sard, one of the minds be­hind the project.

Boaters, how­ever, can view this project as a model for the fu­ture of the boat­ing in­dus­try it­self. Ac­cord­ing to the En­ergy Ob­server team, 96 per­cent of to­day’s boats use car­bon-emit­ting fos­sil fu­els. This emis­sions-free model could serve as a pro­to­type for a wide range of plea­sure boat ap­pli­ca­tions.

Though fuel is a non-is­sue, fund­ing is: More than $4 mil­lion a year will be nec­es­sary to sup­port the trav­el­ing ex­hi­bi­tion and keep the jour­ney go­ing strong. en­ergy-ob­

—Carly Sis­son

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