Self-fueling boat sails from Paris on 6-year world voyage

PARIS (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — A boat that fuels itself set off July 15 from Paris towards the Atlantic, beginning a 6-year journey its designers hope will serve as a model for emissions-free energy networks of the future.

The boat, Energy Observer, will use its solar panels, wind turbines and a hydrogen fuel cell system to power its trip.

The $5.25 million futuristic-looking 100-foot catamaran will rely on sun or wind during the day and tap into its hydrogen reservoirs at night. It produces its own hydrogen through electrolysis of seawater without greenhouse gas emissions.

During its 6-year journey, it plans 101 stopovers in 50 countries to meet people who are designing tomorrow’s future and to prove a cleaner world is possible.

Originally designed in 1983 for offshore racing, the boat enjoyed a successful career in open-sea sailing races before skippers Frederic Dahirel and Victorien Erussard and a French research institute decided in 2013 to convert it into the Energy Observer project, which they called “the first hydrogen vessel around the world.”

Since then a team of close to 50 people including navigators, naval architects, engineers, designers, and communicators spread out across France have been actively working to recondition and transform the legendary sailboat into a vessel of the future.

“There is not one miracle solution to combat climate change: there are solutions which we must learn to operate together. That’s what we are doing with Energy Observer: allowing nature’s energies, as well as those of our society, to collaborate. We are bringing around our project, the knowledge from companies, laboratories, start-ups, and institutions together,” Erussard said in a statement on the boat’s website.

Erussard, former offshore racer and Energy Observer captain, and Jerome Delafosse, ocean explorer and filmmaker, are co-leaders of the expedition.

 A report from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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