Video: Hydrogen-powered ship in Amsterdam

This footage of the Energy Observer research vessel arriving in the Port of Amsterdam April 5 gives some idea of her grace and grandeur as she proceeds on her mission to circumnavigate the globe powered by hydrogen harvested from seawater using carbon free electrolysis.

Here’s another video taken from the deck of the 60 metre (200 foot) boat as she left Antwerp last week – very cool because it shows the ship sailing past all the windmills in that port.

This is the 35th stopover for the Energy Observer, the second in its journey through Northern Europe up past the Arctic Circle. The entire journey – which will take in 101 ports in 50 countries over 6 years before it is finished – is a living laboratory to explore technologies for the energies of the future and test them in extreme conditions.

»» Read other Plugboats coverage of Energy Observer
»» Look at Energy Observer’s past route on the Energy Observer site.

As well as being a research ship, the Energy Observer is an educational tool, a natural focus when in port for new energy seminars and public demonstrations to raise awareness of the problems and solutions in protecting our shared oceans. In Amsterdam  the boat will be open for the public to visit and will be part of a larger exhibition about hydrogen power.

New rigid sail system offers many advantages

Two masts with rigid sails rise up form the pontoons of the Energy Observer

The public will be able to see first hand the newest addition to the Observer’s carbon free energy system. The decks are covered with 130 square metres (1,400 square feet) of solar panels which help drive the electric motors and charge onboard batteries. During the layover between the end of its tour around the Mediterranean and in preparation for this current leg, a new wind propulsion system was implemented.

The Oceanwings® system, from French equipment manufacturer Groupe CNIM, is based on the rigid sails of America’s Cup boats, but the installation on EO has two 12 metre (40 ft) composite masts and two 32 sq. metre (350 sq ft) wingsails that can be automated and have a rotation capacity of 360˚

They allow Energy Observer to:

  • Increase the speed, by complementing the electric motors
  • Reduce energy consumption when they are used to compensate the electric motors
  • Increase energy production during navigation by producing hydrokinetic energy (reversing the electronic motors into hydrogeneraters)
  • Produce hydrogen during navigation by the electrolysis of water

Up until now, hydrogen production was only possible during stopovers.

There is a very complete explanation of how the Oceanwings® system works »» here on the Energy Observer site.

Energy Observer is in Amsterdam until April 19, then sets off for Hamburg to arrive on April 26.

You can also use »» this link to track the ship’s progress in real time.

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