Self-fueling boat sets off from Paris on 6-year world trip

July 15, 2017
In this Tuesday, July 4, 2017 file photo, the Energy Observer, a former race boat turned into a autonomous navigation with hydrogen, sails on the Seine river in Paris. A boat that fuels itself is setting off from Paris Saturday, July 15, 2017, on a six-year round-the-world journey that its designers hope serves as a model for emissions-free energy networks of the future. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File)

A boat that fuels itself is setting off around the world from Paris on a six-year journey that its designers hope will serves as a model for emissions-free energy networks of the future.

Energy Observer will use its , and a system to power its trip. The 5 million-euro ($5.25 million) boat heads off Saturday from Paris toward the Atlantic.

The futuristic-looking 30.5-meter (100-foot) boat will rely on sun or wind during the day and tap into its hydrogen reservoirs at night. It produces its own hydrogen through electrolysis of sea water.

Originally designed in 1983, the boat enjoyed a successful career in open-sea sailing races before skippers Frederic Dahirel and Victorien Erussard and a French research institute converted it into the Energy Observer project.

In this Tuesday, July 4, 2017 file photo, the Energy Observer, a former race boat turned into a autonomous navigation with hydrogen, sails past the Eiffel Tower on the Seine river in Paris. A boat that fuels itself is setting off from Paris on a six-year, round-the-world journey that its designers hope serves as a model for emissions-free energy networks of the future. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File)

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Claudius
3 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2017
It took Magellan 3 years to circumnavigate the globe. So..... 6 years?
ForFreeMinds
4.2 / 5 (6) Jul 15, 2017
Seems kind of silly to have a self powered boat without sails, but with wind turbines to generate electricity to power a propeller. That's far less efficient than sails.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (9) Jul 15, 2017
Since they're making hydrogen for on-board electricity it makes sense to dual-use (i.e. also for propulsion). And wind might not blow in the direction you want to travle (or at all).

By the image it looks like they are also using wind power via the two Darrieus rotors at the back.
It took Magellan 3 years to circumnavigate the globe. So..... 6 years?

They're talking a bit of a longer route and als staying in each port for a while to showcase the tech.
http://www.energy...pedition
unrealone1
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 15, 2017
How much CO2 was produced in the making of the batteries and the rare earth magnet motors?
Parsec
2.8 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2017
How much CO2 was produced in the making of the batteries and the rare earth magnet motors?


That is an excellent question. It is annoying that often, total life cycle costs from cradle to grave are not considered when calculating costs.

On the other hand, I would note that when the boat is finally, ultimately recycled, that all those rare earth magnets and most of the battery materials can be reused. It is certainly true that at least the energy costs to mine and concentrate the raw materials is a one time cost.
Steelwolf
5 / 5 (2) Jul 15, 2017
@Claudius, there were a Lot fewer tourist stops and mandatory Customs layovers and checks back in Magellan's day too! And most of the real pirates happen to be The Ports themselves now as well.
rrrander
1 / 5 (5) Jul 16, 2017
It should end up like the Greenpeace's boat, when it docked in France...
Edenlegaia
4.8 / 5 (4) Jul 16, 2017
It should end up like the Greenpeace's boat, when it docked in France...


What? Talking about the Rainbow Warrior? I hope not, because if it's so, you're the lamest lame.
Dingbone
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 16, 2017
How much such a boat is actually green? How much materials it transported given the cost and energy consumption of materials used for its production?
that all those rare earth magnets and most of the battery materials can be reused
The neodymium magnets are used for quite some time - it would be interesting to find, how much neodymium gets actually recycled in this way...
betterexists
1 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2017
Is POTUS $teering it ? Instead of Experimental Boat, use Regular Huge Steamers....With Emergency Switch to Regular Fuel Engines added , in case of Emergency!
WHY WAIT FOR 6 YRS ?
MR166
5 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2017
I hope that the Darrieus rotors are removable or at least can be lowered if needed. The could be very dangerous in high winds and rough seas.
WillieWard
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 16, 2017
"6-year" it's a supersonic speed from the point of view of a snail.
https://upload.wi...l_01.jpg
I hope Greenpeace embraces this technology and stops burning marine diesel to propel their ships and motorboats across the oceans.
http://wpmedia.ne...1808.jpg
http://www.herald...3461.jpg
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Jul 16, 2017
How much CO2 was produced in the making of the batteries and the rare earth magnet motors?

Totally irrelevant question as we are in a transition period away from making energy via emission of CO2. What you are effectively insinuating is that we shouldn't be doing this because it creates CO2 in the process.
That's the same kind of argument that says: "We shouldn't be investing in building a factory even though we do want the product." or "We shouldn't do science because it cost money".

In essence: you're being supremely stupid.and disingenuous. Stop it.
holoman
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 16, 2017
No comment on chlorine production using their hydrogen technology and No mention how their technology can help reduce ocean acidity killing the corral reefs. 2 big clean ocean bullets they fail to meet. But money is money is money and showy opp add buys more money.
Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2017
No comment on chlorine production using their hydrogen technology and No mention how their technology can help reduce ocean acidity killing the corral reefs. 2 big clean ocean bullets they fail to meet. But money is money is money and showy opp add buys more money.

Your bias is showing big time..... try to shoot down anything that doesn't fall in line with your personal delusion. Such bias showcasing renders your comments worthless.
unrealone1
1 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2017
Tesla car battery production releases as much CO2 as 8 years of gasoline driving.
https://wattsupwi...driving/

Rare-earth mining in China comes at a heavy cost for local villages
https://www.thegu...ollution

https://phys.org/...gas.html
Diesel is now better than gas, study says
Get Your Science Right.
"Total life cycle costs from cradle to grave."
Have to be quoted otherwise it's just Fake News..
holoman
1 / 5 (4) Jul 16, 2017
No comment on chlorine production using their hydrogen technology and No mention how their technology can help reduce ocean acidity killing the corral reefs. 2 big clean ocean bullets they fail to meet. But money is money is money and showy opp add buys more money.

Your bias is showing big time..... try to shoot down anything that doesn't fall in line with your personal delusion. Such bias showcasing renders your comments worthless.


You are correct. I care about the environment, maybe you should check your heart beat.
omegatalon
not rated yet Jul 16, 2017
Not the most efficient approach as the solar arrays are nice; but a boat featuring a design similar to the boat of the America's cup would be more effective as the multi-hull catamaran are capable of near 60 mph without the usage of motors.
Osiris1
2 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2017
Progress all comes at a cost. This is a demonstrator, a big one. Must be nice to ride in a palace that never needs to refuel, only to re-food, chateau-briand for 100, caviar, champaign.....End to end energy saving is better but you have to start somewhere. Next is automated factories powered by the same collector systems to produce yet more collectors. Use those collectors to power plasma M2P2 spacecraft, big ones, to mine asteroids for rare earths where they are MUCH more plentiful and easy to mine. Just keep all the debris from mining on the asteroid mined----so much for supply pollution. THEN after a couple of more steps, the process will be end to end self generating with no stress on earth resources.
Dark_Solar
4.5 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2017
Let's see....turbines to power the motors on wind, solar panels to fill hydrox tanks and run the propulsion system whenever the sun's out, hydrox fuel cells to run things when there's no wind and it's night....seems like they have all their bases covered. I'm a bit concerned about overall seaworthiness of the vessel but for the most part, looks like they've got a good unit.

As they're using seawater as the cracking stock, what will they do with the chlorine & alkali bi-products?

@omegatalon --can't say with 100% certainty but from the photos of the boat, it looks like they are using a catamaran style hull...are you referring to the additional hydrofoils common amongst the A.C. racers?
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2017
@holoman.
No comment on chlorine production using their hydrogen technology...
Are you sure that Chlorine will be produced? I understand that Hydrolysis of Water releases Oxygen not Chlorine. Just because the seawater contains salts (Sodium chloride etc) doesn't mean it is the salts that is being electrolyzed.
ddaye
5 / 5 (2) Jul 16, 2017
It took Magellan 3 years to circumnavigate the globe. So..... 6 years?

He wasn't engaged in marketing.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Jul 17, 2017
Totally irrelevant question as we are in a transition period away from making energy via emission of CO2. What you are effectively insinuating is that we shouldn't be doing this because it creates CO2 in the process.


There's a double standard: "green" technologies are allowed to emit or cause the emission of CO2 even in excess of other technologies, because they symbolize progress rather than actually being progress at the moment.

You're not "building the factory", you're selling a product, or "they" are, at any cost you're willing to buy. That can include emissions.

As long as the source of energy is not clean, "clean technology" at the end amounts to nothing more than cargo cult environmentalism. Case example: if you can only afford cheap solar panels because they're made with Chinese coal, it's not green. Progress is making solar panels with solar power from sustainable resources, not just buying solar panels, or electric cars, and pretending you're helping.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Jul 17, 2017
The question is of avoided cost. Am I doing more harm now this way than the other way?

If you got a technology that doesn't actually reduce CO2 emissions now, and costs more - thereby actually emitting more CO2 indirectly - then the answer is simple: yes you are doing more harm than good.

In that sense, buying an electric car now makes no sense, because by the time you've got enough renewable energy on the grid to offset the additional cost and resource use, that car will already have been scrapped, having served no purpose. If you excuse it by "Well I was funding the development of electric cars" - you could have just invested directly and saved everyone the bother.

It's like drinking ahead of time for crossing the desert. Sure, you need water, but if you have it the night before, you'll just piss it out before the actual trip.

Right solution, wrong time.
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2017
I'm a bit concerned about overall seaworthiness of the vessel

The boat was, before being converted, one of these ocean speed-racing boats. Don't worry. It's seaworthy.

What I'd like to see eventually is:
Strip down the design to the bare bones, make it autonomous and turn it into a platform for transporting a single, standard cargo container.
Then - instead of using huge ships with complicated itineraries and loading/unloading procedures as well as size constraints due to canal passages and port handling capabilities - have fleets to these transport any particular cargo to any port via any route.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2017
As long as the source of energy is not clean, "clean technology" at the end amounts to nothing more than cargo cult environmentalism.

As I said: You have to build the factory first. In this case you have to build the clean infrastructure (and of course that will be built using 'dirty' techniques in the initial phase. Over time more and more will come from green sources). One way to get this infrastructure built is to make people aware that the clean technologies actually work. If you never build a proptotype like this you can never argue this with certainty.

if you can only afford cheap solar panels because they're made with Chinese coal, it's not green

It is if you get more energy out of it than coal was burnt to make it. And it also is because it gives revenue to the Chinese state to push their green agenda (which theiy are in the process of doing). You have to see the whole picture and stop cherrypicking one place/point in time.
Lex Talonis
not rated yet Jul 17, 2017
Well kudos - for using a COMBINATION of energy converter and storage systems.

Maybe not outright speed - but lean efficiency, and public relations stop overs, is the go.
Dark_Solar
not rated yet Jul 17, 2017
@RealityCheck

The chlorine/hydroxide problem is a bit of an issue; FYI and maybe as a useful tidbit down the road should the world go crazy, you can chlorinate your own water & produce various metal hydroxides via brine electrolysis. Actually, maybe that's a useful piece of information even if the world hasn't gone crazy....

@antialias_physorg:

My primary concern [vis-a-vis seaworthiness] is how it's going to hold up in heavy seas; no doubt it was fully up to the rigors & conditions of competitive racing but whether it's going to take the kind of beating a severe mid-ocean storm can hand out...well...we'll just have to wait.

make it autonomous and turn it into a platform for transporting a single, standard cargo container


Two thumbs-up on the swarm-ships!!

dnatwork
5 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2017
The question is of avoided cost. Am I doing more harm now this way than the other way?
...
buying an electric car now makes no sense...by the time you've got enough renewable energy on the grid to offset...that car will already have been scrapped, having served no purpose. If you excuse it by "Well I was funding the development of electric cars" - you could have just invested directly...
...
Right solution, wrong time.


You're ignoring the market. Electric cars have been the right solution for decades, but all the infrastructure has been built to support fossil fuels. If people don't have electric cars, no one will have the incentive to fuel and service them. If there is no fuel or service, no one will buy them. Only solution is to pay more for electric cars at the beginning to get the market started.

It's obviously not your money I'm spending, how is it your business? How would I "invest directly"? Build my own 100 MW solar plant, or own a H2 fueling station? What?
dnatwork
5 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2017
continued:

And you conflate avoided cost with harm.

Cost is just money, and the funny thing about money is the more we spend the more there will be. The economy grows if you circulate money widely and often, not if you let the oil oligarchs and Wall Street robber barons keep it all and control who can spend it on what.

Harm is entirely different from cost. Harm is damage to health or the environment. You can put an arbitrary cost on that, but you can't actually buy those things. If you kill some kid with smog or drive any species to extinction, those things are dead. Money is irrelevant.

I, for one, value life and biodiversity and a clean environment more than money, and I will pay more for those things.

As for CO2 emitted during the production of EVs, that is a specious and circular argument. The only reason CO2 is produced is because that's the only source of power right now. If you build renewable power, then EVs will produce no CO2 during production.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2017
Two thumbs-up on the swarm-ships!!

Seriously contemplating taking this one to kickstarter. Maybe with a towed/floating (and retractable) solar array instead of the solar cells up top for more power?

Have to look into the cost issues on that one first, though (particularly the H2 generation and fuel cell)
MR166
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2017
From the size of the solar panels one would guess they could produce about 20KW peak or about 27HP. 27 hp is not really adequate for a boat of that size so they must be planning to produce a lot of H2 as energy storage. I expect that the boat will be docked collecting power way longer than it will be actually moving.
MR166
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2017
"Cost is just money, and the funny thing about money is the more we spend the more there will be. "

One of my pet peeves about the green movement is their lack of understanding of economics. All spending is not equal in value. Spend too much without the productivity to back it up and you wind up like Zimbabwe.
dnatwork
5 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2017
"Cost is just money, and the funny thing about money is the more we spend the more there will be. "

One of my pet peeves about the green movement is their lack of understanding of economics. All spending is not equal in value. Spend too much without the productivity to back it up and you wind up like Zimbabwe.


If I buy products from you, and you hire someone else to do the job, then you and that other person have more money. In turn, you both spend more money and buy more things, some of them possibly from me. Assuming we each added value along the way, then I have more money to buy your products, and on the next cycle you have more money to buy value-added products from whomever.

That basic enough for you?

I'm not assuming Zimbabwe because I think most of the economies of the world are not based on a dictator's whims, but instead on people choosing the best value for themselves. Unlike you, who keep trying to choose what you want for me.
MR166
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2017
". Assuming we each added value along the way,"

Well that is the key isn't it. It flies in the face of your previous statement that cost does not matter.
EnricM
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2017
It took Magellan 3 years to circumnavigate the globe. So..... 6 years?


Like doing visits to several harbours, , not using a straight circular route and taking days off on some places and replace crew for instance?
EnricM
5 / 5 (2) Jul 18, 2017

One of my pet peeves about the green movement is their lack of understanding of economics.


Thus, economists that are green do not exist or the ones that exist are not green, right?
http://www.invest...mics.asp

dnatwork
5 / 5 (2) Jul 18, 2017
". Assuming we each added value along the way,"

Well that is the key isn't it. It flies in the face of your previous statement that cost does not matter.


You misconstrue my statements at least twice in this latest post. What I said previously was that cost is just money, not that cost doesn't matter. And that does not fly in the face of the need to assume that each step in the economic process adds value. On the contrary, it is necessary to have value added in order for costs to be justified.

You have a completely consistent pattern of misconstruing things, so I have to conclude you are doing it on purpose. I'm only the latest person to observe this about you.

If you deliberately get it wrong, never actually responding to what people say but always twisting people's words in some poorly conceived attempt to score points, you only prove that your own position is so weak that you can't even be bothered to defend it.
MR166
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2017
"Cost is just money, and the funny thing about money is the more we spend the more there will be. The economy grows if you circulate money widely and often,....."

DNA my checking account is getting kind of low and the rent is due soon. I guess I had better buy that new Tesla before I run out and cannot pay my rent. Stupid Huh! PS, the same applies to governments.
dnatwork
4 / 5 (4) Jul 19, 2017
"Cost is just money, and the funny thing about money is the more we spend the more there will be. The economy grows if you circulate money widely and often,....."

DNA my checking account is getting kind of low and the rent is due soon. I guess I had better buy that new Tesla before I run out and cannot pay my rent. Stupid Huh! PS, the same applies to governments.


Wrong again. People borrow if they have prospects for better returns on a proposed investment. It is stupid not to borrow when the ROI is good. The function of government is to do that on the societal level--to provide for the general welfare. We spend on education and public health as investments in the population, we spend on infrastructure as an investment in the economy. The US has over $16 trillion in debt, with no problems paying it back and borrowing more. The only question is whether we are borrowing and investing wisely and optimally for the health and welfare of current and future generations.
Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (2) Jul 19, 2017
No comment on chlorine production using their hydrogen technology and No mention how their technology can help reduce ocean acidity killing the corral reefs. 2 big clean ocean bullets they fail to meet. But money is money is money and showy opp add buys more money.

Your bias is showing big time..... try to shoot down anything that doesn't fall in line with your personal delusion. Such bias showcasing renders your comments worthless.


You are correct. I care about the environment, maybe you should check your heart beat.


That isn't very convincing either.....give it up
rrrander
5 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2017
The oceans has enough useless garbage floating around it without this pointless waste of $5M.
MR166
5 / 5 (2) Jul 20, 2017
" The US has over $16 trillion in debt, with no problems paying it back and borrowing more. "

They are not borrowing the money, they are printing it via the Federal Reserve. Notwithstanding the Clinton era, how can they be "Paying it Back" when it never decreases?

Like all Ponzi schemes, people eventually figure it out and the fraud collapses under it's own weight. The dollar only have value because others trust their governments less than the US.
MR166
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2017
Worse yet, the US national debt has been skyrocketing in comparison to the US GDP growth. Increasing debt combined with a stagnant GDP is a recipe for disaster.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jul 20, 2017
The oceans has enough useless garbage floating around it without this pointless waste of $5M.

Since this is neither garbage, nor just floating nor is it going to stay in the ocean like the garbage you and I put there...what, exactly, is your point (besides expelling hot air of internet-troll-rage)?
WillieWard
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2017
...useless garbage floating...
it could be intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef but the solar cells are full of arsenide and other chemical carcinogens that never lose their toxicity with time, it would produce an unimaginable ecological disaster.
gkam
1 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2017
There will be no ships run on nukes anymore, either.

Nor powerplants.

http://www.utilit...447482/?
WillieWard
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2017
There will be no ships run on nukes anymore, either.
"Russia's Largest Ever Nuclear Icebreaker Is a Ship Captain's Dream"
https://futurism....s-dream/
No thanks! say Eco-nuts and Faux-greens, they prefer marine diesel instead.
https://pbs.twimg...2JT7.jpg
http://wpmedia.ne...1808.jpg
"Great chart showing in detail where and which types of nuclear reactors are currently being constructed worldwide"
https://pbs.twimg...Q6Z5.jpg
Look who's increasing the fastest: oil & gas, thanks to faux-greens and eco-nuts.
https://pbs.twimg...jhVG.jpg

gkam
1 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2017
"the US national debt has been skyrocketing in comparison to the US GDP growth. "

Perhaps you could pay for your Republican Wars?

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