Since Solar Impulse successfully completed its fuel-free flight around the world earlier this summer, many adventurers are dreaming of making their own green journeys in other types of vehicles. For Victorien Erussard of France, a boat powered by renewable energy and hydrogen is the key part of his mission, but it’s not just a dream. Erussard’s boat, dubbed Energy Observer, is currently being outfitted with all the clean energy-generating gear it will need to cruise around the world.
Energy Observer is a large catamaran, currently housed in a shipyard at Saint-Malo on the west coast of France. The next phase of the boat’s preparation is the installation of solar panels and wind turbines, as well as electrolysis equipment, which divides water molecules into hydrogen (for fuel) and oxygen (which is typically expelled into the air). While Solar Impulse flew powered solely by electricity generated from solar energy, Erussard decided early on to outfit his boat with multiple sources of renewable energy. After all, he won’t have the same convenience of landing and staying in a hotel until the weather turns favorable again.
“If there’s no sun or wind, or if it’s night, stored hydrogen—generated by electrolysis powered by the solar panels and two wind turbines—will take over,” Erussard explained in a statement. As a merchant navy officer, he knows plenty about boats, and he believes his onboard hydrogen fuel-producing boat will make history. “We are going to be the first boat with an autonomous means of producing hydrogen,” he told the press.
Energy Observer is scheduled to hit the high seas next February, and Erussard will be accompanied on the adventure by Jacques Delafosse, a documentary filmmaker and professional scuba diver.
Images via Energy Observer