The Energy Observer Challenge
The starting signal
The idea has sprung from the need to purely non-polluted energy. Back then in 2015, the beginning was when the ambitious team of Energy Observer (EO), which is composed of about 35 enthusiastic architect, designer, diver, and engineer, has a dream. The dream was to realize and build a boat that is operating 100 per cent by renewable and clean energy. This is not the only challenge; the real challenge was to produce from these renewables pure and clean hydrogen power. They took an old racing catamaran and transformed it to a role model vessel of renewable energy.
Moreover, it is important to know that Energy Observer Project came as a nascent of previous great experiment such as Race For Water Odyssey project that launched a boat fully working with solar energy. What is special about EO project is the innovative thinking of its crew. The innovation was to generate power using not only renewables but also on producing hydrogen power from it.
How long is the Odyssey journey of EO?
Initially, the former race boat has transformed into a dazzling hydrogen vessel. The first in the world that is depending on energy of sun, wind, water and the production of hydrogen gas. The idea is that to test the capacities of hydrogen power generated from renewables and natural components is to undergo a long cruise of seven years. The miraculous vessel will accomplish a seven-year voyage around the world fueled only by clean energy with no greenhouse gas emissions.
The trip is composed of almost 7 years –as previously mentioned- where they are going to sail to about 50 country and 101 port. The starting port was the port of Saint Malo in June 26, 2017, after in April 2018 the vessel is doing its tour in the Mediterranean Sea. Eventually, this project is funded by large renewable energy companies, which are supporting the initiative.
Technicalities and clarification :
What is hydrogen power?
The vision of OE team was to extract the “energy from nature, without damaging it and without wasting it”. Thus, the audacious decision should combine bother the human dimension, the innovative, the sustainable and the technological dimension.
Based on a series of accurate and precise experiments, it is highlighted that hydrogen is the most abundant and available element in earth. This simple element “H “is the most plentifully found chemical substance in the universe. The problem is that the H substance does not appear in gas forma. In fact, it exists always joined with other elements; it is always united with other substances. Therefore, scientists have found two major methods to split the components and find crude hydrogen gas.
The first method depends on the decomposition of hydrocarbon (using heat) it is called: reforming. This method has negative environmental effects. Only one method has zero toxic emission: the method is called electrolysis. The process consists literally of splitting water! The two components of water, which are oxygen and hydrogen (H²O) are separated by electrical current. Thus, obtaining hydrogen fuel (meaning hydrogen gas). That was the method implemented by EO.
Sometimes also, some sea algae and bacteria absorb sunlight and emit hydrogen under certain natural circumstances.
The importance of hydrogen power in the future:
Hydrogen is rich of energy and its vast abundance in the universe makes it a very useful source of energy. As explained earlier using the electrolysis process we can obtain clean gas emission. Then hydrogen fuel cells attained through the decomposition of water by electrical current could be the energy of the future. Global renewable energy suppliers would immensely invest in this innovative technology. According to the EO experiment the hydrogen fuel gas cells could provide energy to the vessel and astonishingly can produce pure water that the crew tested (they even drunk it).
These clean fuel cells can generate electrical energy, heat and water. As long as hydrogen is the most available natural chemical element found on earth, it could be ranked –if ever utilized- the most sustainable and powerful energy of the future. Notice also, that hydrogen can be stocked until required and could be transmitted easily.
These promising results experiment of EO can be an infinite fountain of renewable Hydrogen energy for the growing electrical needs.