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France Sailing Technology

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Frenchmen to circumnavigate the globe on hydrogen powered boat

Jerome Delafosse and Victorien Erussard stand in front of the Energy Observer catamaran which is being given finishing touches in Saint Malo. Energy Observer/Pierrick Contin

This spring, two Frenchman Victorien Erussard and Jerome Delafosse, will embark on an extraordinary jpourney. They will circumnavigate the globe aboard a high tech boat.

The catamaran called Energy Observer will be captained by Erussard while Delafosse will be the chief explorer of the expedition that will last for six years.

This is not the first time that an around-the-world expedition will be attempted. What makes this endeavor different is that it will be done using hydrogen power along with solar and wind energy. The hydrogen will be produced on board using an electrolyser.

The boat has130 square meters of solar panels, two vertical wind turbines, a kite sail and hydrogen fuel cells.

Hydrogen will be used to increase the autonomy when conditions won’t suit the use of solar and wind power.

This energy has been developed by CEA-Liten, the Grenoble based the Grenoble based laboratory involved in developing sustainable energy technologies.

Erussard said navigating the ship will be an interesting challenge.

“The challenge is to tour the world and target energy autonomy with no carbon dioxide emissions and no release of fine particles. The navigation challenge will increase as we sail into the Mediterranean, northern Europe and later while crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans,” he said.

He also said that the idea behind the project was to demonstrate the use of clean and green technologies and spread the message all over the world.

The team will start their journey by travelling around France. Their six-year long journey will take them to 50 countries and 101 ports. “During our trip, we will be visiting start-ups all over the world that are protecting planet through innovation,” Delafosse said.

The 30-ton boat will set sail from the north western port city of Saint Malo, where it is currently being painted and fitted with energy systems.