The ship experimental Energy Watch – the maritime equivalent of the aircraft Solar Impulse , must explore the capacity of renewable energy and the hydrogen by performing a world tour in total autonomy. Put the water in April 2017, it will have to reconcile scientific exploration and technological progress.
There had already been PlanetSolar, the first ship to sail around the world using solar energy, in 2010-2012. Then the plane Solar Impulse, who had also walked all the skies of the globe to the sheer force of his solar panels between 2015 and 2016. There will now Energy to Observe, another ship pioneer, destined to sail all over the world through the energy of the hydrogen this time.
- A pilot project for the use of hydrogen in Dunkirk
- What is the future for the fuel cell ?
The catamaran 30.5 metres length 12.8 metres width, is a former race boat that has had its hour of glory in 1984, today converted into a technology platform with state of the art. For Victorian Erussard, director of shipping and marine veteran, “Energy Watch, it is a conversion to two-way : recycle a catamaran race, lightweight and reliable, record-holder around the world, and to invest in research and development, rather than in the composite“. The craft has left its main mast and its sails to a huge surface of solar photovoltaic panels. Not less than 120 m2 of sensors with high efficiency are thus spread out between the two halves of the building, based on two different technologies : those that are installed on the bridge are curved, to fit at best its rounded shape, and were made-to-measure. Other panels, double-side, heterojunctions, can capture the direct sunlight and those réverbérés by the surface of the water : they are installed at the rear and along the entire length of the hull. To complement this production, two mini vertical-axis wind turbines are located towards the stern.
Generate electricity and store it
- The lift-to-hydrogen will take off there in the future ?
- Fuel cell domestic product of avant-garde or concrete reality ?
The current produced is used to feed a désalinisateur as well as an electrolyzer, which allow to obtain hydrogen from the sea water, this resource is infinite. This hydrogen, compressed, serve as fuel to a fuel cell that will provide electricity to the request. Three operating modes will be used : at the dock, the consumption will be reduced to a minimum and the energy produced by the sun and wind will be stored in lithium-ion batteries. “All the surplus will be recovered by starting the chain of production by electrolysis and hydrogen storage, “says the CEA. In effect, the gas can also be stored in tanks. The battery system will be requested for storage in the short-term. It will power two parallel networks : one at 400 V (for the management of calls for power, propulsion, electrolysis and the compression of the hydrogen) and the other at 24 V (for the life on board and the equipment of the control-command and security). The longer-term storage will be provided by the hydrogen chain. And the heat from the fuel cell will be the same used for the heating of sanitary water.
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