Energy Observer: Sailing to the Arctic Using Renewable Energy and Hydrogen

By June 29, 2019 4   min read  (710 words)

June 29, 2019 |

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Energy Observer has started a new challenge: to become the world’s first vessel to reach the Arctic powered only by renewable energies and hydrogen!

A technological and human challenge, a universal message directed to decision-makers at a time when the “Paris Climate Agreement” is more than ever jeopardized.

Victorien Erussard, Jérôme Delafosse and Energy Observer’s crew have developed the first autonomous vessel capable of drawing its energy from nature without damaging it.

Sailing the Arctic, a first for a vessel propelled by renewable energy

After two years of sailing and optimizing the system, Energy Observer is about to complete a historic expedition, the longest since it left Saint-Malo in 2017, to become the first vessel around the world to join the Arctic Circle powered solely by renewable energies and hydrogen. 2,400 miles to go between St Petersburg and Longyearbyen on the Spitsbergen, sailing along the West coast of Norway!

The ship is now, with the technological bricks in place and the new Oceanwings®, in a position to embark on this type of crossing. Recent navigations have been a success. Sailing from Helsinki to Tallinn and then to St. Petersburg, the vessel arrived with 100% batteries and hydrogen! We were able to create energy and store it while sailing thanks to hydrogenation coupled with solar energy. It will be necessary to be skillful strategists and choose the right weather windows to head to the Arctic, which is a formidable place” Victorien Erussard, Captain and founder.


Energy Observer Sailing to Arctic

Demonstrate to better raise awareness
During this crossing, Energy Observer’s crew wishes to share their goal and challenge with as many people as possible to raise awareness about the consequences of industrial and human activities on our planet. Demonstrating that alternatives to fossil fuels exist and that producing energy without emitting greenhouse gases, whilst limiting our impacting on the environment, is possible.

This trip marks a real turning point for the expedition. A truly technological and human turning point, as well as a new angle to the message we want to convey. Indeed we have chosen to join the Spitsbergen because it is the “Ground zero”, the epicenter of climate change. This archipelago alone crystallizes the major issues of climate emergency and of human impact on the environment. If we succeed up there thanks to renewable energies in extreme environments, then we will prove that humanity can be reconciled with nature. It is one of the major challenge in the coming decades.” Jérôme Delafosse, Expedition leader and film director.

The Spitsbergen and the polar regions are experiencing all the changes due to climate change, that have been underway for many years. They are a true compass of the state of our climate. Many scientists have identified it for a long time and the United Nations recently recalled it in March 2019. We now know the consequences of rising temperatures, particularly with the melting of ice (rising waters, the release of greenhouse gases from permafrost, disruption of ocean currents, disappearance of fauna and flora and, of course, deterioration of the living conditions of the people living in these regions and population displacement…).

Norway, the 23rd country of the Odyssey for the Future
Energy Observer will show all the beauty and fragility of this arctic ecosystem, skirting the coasts of Norway, an emblematic country at the forefront of the ecological action. Despite an abundance of hydrocarbon reserves, the country has resolutely oriented its energy policy towards renewable energies and hydrogen, while massively investing in the protection of its environment.
Of incomparable beauty, the Norwegian coast will become a real challenge for the team and the boat, which will once again demonstrate its ability to face extreme weather conditions.

An incredible documentary film
This navigation will result in the shooting of a 90-minute documentary that will be broadcasted on Canal+. A film about a demonstrative navigation to protest against the rise of a new authoritarian and climate-skeptical axis. Proving that we have the necessary knowledge and technologies to live in harmony with nature.More than ever it is urgent to take action for our planet and future generations. The decisions we make today will have an impact on the millennia to come.

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