Energy Observer is a Zero-Net Energy Catamaran on a 6 Year Voyage
We can learn a lot from Energy Observer and the team that made her possible. From electrolyzed hydrogen fuel cells (collected from seawater) to 3 kW vertical wind turbines to a high altitude kite that pulls the vessel forward, the power sources on board Energy Observer are awesome innovations that inspire Z-NEV's design. My favorite power source that I recently learned about is the propeller that produces electricity when the kite sail pulls the boat forward. Here are some excerpts from a Discover Magazine article published in Spring, 2017. Link to full article is at the end.
“When the kite sail is operational, the forward motion of the boat will make the propeller rotate. The rotation of the propeller produces electrical power in the motor. This is a reverse mechanism of the normal propulsion in which electrical power is converted to mechanical power,”
The solar cells are 25% more efficient than traditional cells:
Unlike classical solar cells, where there is a metallic plate at the bottom to collect electrons and where only one face is active, the solar cells aboard the boat use metallic strings for the same purpose and get benefit of bifacial cells. According to Bouix, this improves efficiency and will increase the power generated by a factor of 25 percent.
I've admired this team since I first heard about their expedition and goals just before their April, 2017 launch from France. Why? Because they're not just talking the talk, they're badasses.
“We want to demonstrate the use of renewable, green, zero-pollution fuel technologies and spread the message all over the world. It is for this reason that we will be visiting 50 countries, stopping at 101 ports.”
Part of their mission is spreading the word about using renewables and what can be achieved if human civilization focusses our collective energy toward solving the biggest challenges that our world will be facing in the next decade.
Delafosse says during their trip they will be visiting start-ups all over the world whose aim is to protect our planet through innovation.
“This will include all the technological solutions aimed at protecting our planet such as creating corals using 3D printers, generating light from sea bacteria or creating plastic using seaweed,” he said.
3D printed corals and light from sea bacteria sound pretty awesome. Who's doing that?