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First Autonomous Boat to Travel the World

1/23/17 8:19 AM

© Energy Observer 2016 - Kadeg Boucher

Last year, the Solar Impulse made history after completing the first flight around the world by a solar-powered airplane. This year, a former multi-hull race boat dubbed the Energy Observer, is going to give the Solar Impulse a run for its money by taking a six year trip around the world running solely on renewable energies and hydrogen, which can store 20 times more energy than conventional batteries.

The Energy Observer is the first autonomous boat to be powered by the sun, wind and self-generated hydrogen. The 100-foot boat is equipped with solar panels, wind turbines and a kite sail that will enable the production of hydrogen through electrolysis. The boat will also be fitted with sensors to act as a moving laboratory for CEA-Liten, a research institute that helped design the Energy Observer with help from a team naval architects.

The boat's batteries will feed the electronic motors, powered by the sun and wind. However, if there is no sun and wind, the boat will draw from its hydrogen reservoirs. Through electrolysis, an electric current being passed through the water, water molecules (H₂O) are divided into hydrogen (H₂) and oxygen (O₂). The hydrogen is then stored for fuel and the oxygen is expelled into the air.

Scheduled to set sail in February, the Energy Observer will make 101 stops across 50 countries, starting with Paris, to prove that a cleaner world is possible. During the six year odyssey around the world, there will be zero emission of greenhouse gases or fine particles. That can't be said for 96% of the boats today.

Data loggers are commonly deployed in alternative energy projects and studies. Data retrieved from these devices can help analyze usage, audits, as well as the testing and verification of production processes. To view the complete line of data loggers for all renewable energy resources, click here.

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