A French project is introducing a cargo vessel that aspires to be the future of a sustainable sea freight sector by operating on hydrogen, permitting no greenhouse gas emission directly. The Energy Observer 2, unveiled at the UN-backed One Ocean Summit in western Brest on 10 February, Thursday, is the newly launched prototype that follows its relatively smaller sister vessel titled the Energy Observer launched back in 2017.
The latter is a catamaran covered in solar panels and was the first boat that deployed renewable energy and was capable of producing hydrogen from saltwater.
The goal is to have the first zero-emissions cargo vessel hit the seas by 2025. While the sister was merely an exploration boat, the Energy Observer 2 is geared to take on heavy loads and has the capacity to transport about 240 freight containers.
Victorien Erussard, the founder of Energy Observer, who says sea freight is responsible for about 3% of CO2 emissions in the world, said that this boat can de-carbonize one-third of the existing fleet in the world.
The plan is for the cargo vessel to be operated by liquefied hydrogen that is produced on the land with carbon-neutral energy, Erussard aspires, like nuclear or any other sources of renewable energy.
The vessel boasts four sets of sails that appear similar to vertical wings that use wind propulsion to lower fuel consumption by about 40%. The ship has Liquid hydrogen tanks with capacity of 70 tonnes and a travelling range of up to 4,000 nm.
Air Liquide masters the production, distribution, storage, and even safety of liquid hydrogen and hones its expertise and capacity for further innovation.