GREEN POWERED BOAT PREPARES FOR ROUND-THE-WORLD VOYAGE
Dubbed the “Solar Impulse of the seas”, the first boat to be powered solely by renewable energies and hydrogen hopes to make its own historic trip around the world. A water-borne answer to the Solar Impulse will be powered by the sun, the wind and self-generated hydrogen when it sets sail in February as scheduled.
The multi-hulled catamaran is in a shipyard at Saint Malo on France’s west coast, awaiting the installation of solar panels, wind turbines and electrolysis equipment, which breaks down water to produce its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen. “We are going to be the first boat with an autonomous means of producing hydrogen,” says Frenchman Victorien Erussard, who is behind the project – confidential until now – with compatriot Jacques Delafosse, a documentary filmmaker and professional scuba diver.
The plan is for the boat’s batteries, which will feed the electric motors, to be powered in good weather by solar and wind energy, explained the 37-year-old merchant navy officer.“If there’s no sun or wind, or if it’s night, stored hydrogen – generated by electrolysis powered by the solar panels and two wind turbines – will take over,” he said. As a result, the vessel’s trip will not use any carbon-emitting fossil fuels, as is the case for 96% of boats today. Once this has been battle tested, it’s commercial applications are endless.