On Friday the 12th of April, SolarPower Europe stepped onboard the Energy Observer vessel as it docked in Amsterdam.
A former racing boat, the Energy Observer has been transformed into the world’s first hydrogen vessel, powered by a mix of renewables energies: solar, hydrogen, and wind, aiming for energy autonomy, with zero greenhouse gas emissions or fine particles. As 90% of trade worldwide is transported by sea, the decarbonisation of maritime travel will contribute significantly to meeting climate targets.
The vessel features more than 27 m² of solar panels, which increase the total surface area to 168 m² for 28 kWp, and charge the batteries used for producing hydrogen from seawater. Through a process of desalinization, purification, and electrolysis, carbon-free hydrogen is produced to supply the vessel’s electricity and heat requirements.
SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said: “It has been a very inspiring visit to the world’s first hydrogen and solar vessel. It is good to see how solar, renewable hydrogen and storage can help decarbonise maritime transport and ocean travel. The Energy Observer is a prime example of how sector coupling can actively contribute to the energy transition.”
SolarPower Europe member ENGIE is also a main partner of the project, supporting the Energy Observer in its 6-year trip around the world, making 101 stopovers in 50 countries, and discovering along the way communities that are designing and engineering the future and favouring innovative carbon-neutral solutions.
SolarPower Europe spoke with Louis-Noël Viviès, Managing Director of Energy Observer, about the vessel’s solar panels: