Ship sails around the world without any fossil fuel


A ship powered by renewable energy – so much so that hydrogen is produced on board – will soon depart on the last leg of its voyage around the world.

The 30 m long catamaran, called Energy Observer, is currently still moored in the southeastern US state of Florida.

The Energy Observer has so far traveled 63,040 nautical miles without using any fossil fuel since the start of the voyage in 2017. The ship uses solar panels and advanced sails called “oceanwings” as a power source in various climates along the coast of Africa, Asia and Antarctica.

About 40% of the vessel’s energy comes from wind, 40% from solar power and 20% from hydrogen.

The ship’s automatic 12 m “wings” increase the ship’s speed and reduce energy consumption.

The Energy Observer is going to play in Washington, New York and Boston before it finally sails back to France.

Meanwhile, work is underway on an Energy Observer 2, a cargo ship of almost 120 m with a capacity to transport 5,000 metric tons. The ship will be powered by liquid hydrogen.

“We learned a lot on this trip,” Captain Marin Jarry of the Energy Observer told AFP this week in Fort Lauderdale, just north of Miami.

Jarry intends to also share what he learned on board the Energy Observer through seminars, articles and videos with others and in the process influence the shipping and maritime sector, especially since the ship’s ocean wings are already in commercial shipping was used.

The wings were used on the cargo ship Canopee, which was designed to transport parts of the Ariane 6 rocket from Europe to a launch center in French Guiana on the northeastern tip of South America.

Maritime transport currently generates around 3% of greenhouse gases worldwide.