UNESCO joins Energy Observer, the first hydrogen ship

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by schakel, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

    You forget the ammount of photo electric volt-cells (solar panels) they have on the roof.
    They deliver the ammout of energy for the production of Hydrogen.
    energy observer schema.jpg

    And it's not subsidiced by government but sponsored by Accor Hotels, Thelem assurances, and Delangy transport company (main sponsors) and many others.
  2. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    No. I didn't forget the the PV Panels. What I SAID was "they are trying to generate Hydrogen from prop spin (see attached info) when underway, from that unimpressive little Kite."
    To explain it to you in detail- the amount of Hydrogen they will create from the sail option is so SMALL , that that the expense and bother of the little Kite is ridiculous. The inefficiency of the process is staggering.
    I cant comment on the panel and turbine sources, but I do know how little the kite will produce, making it a ridiculous exercise.

    If they wanted to be serious about utilizing wind power, they could at least have adopted their historical predecessor Alcyones "turbine towers" - oh, but that might have shadowed the PV panels ....

    "And it's not subsidiced by government"
    What I SAID was "must be getting a big tax break or govt subsidy".
    Do you have access to the General Ledgers of "Accor Hotels, Thelem assurances, and Delangy" ??
    I BET you its a big Tax write-off, so it IS subsidized by Government and Taxpayers.

  3. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

    I suppose most sponsoring is done with Tax write of. Formula 1 racing cars and VOR are sponsored as well. Is sponsoring (which is stimulised by government) really a big disadvantage for the tax payer? I Don't know, makes alot of things possible. I still have in the back of my head this is a research project.
    Have you seen the budget of another reseach project that's dwarfs the budget of Energy Obsever? Try the Iter project. (20 Bln.) ITER - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER

    And I agree that the percentage of energy by prop spin or their little kite supplied to produce hydrogen is small.
    Main source is PV cells.

    About the Alcones turbine towers: Now that's true. But it provides a lot of resistance as well.
    Like most design it's a matter of pro's and contra's.
  4. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    "another research project that's dwarfs the budget of Energy Obsever? Try the Iter project."

    Hmmm, I dont think thats a good comparison. ITER is the cutting edge of a Physics technology that would create a complete new paradigm for the whole of Civilisation.

    My opinion is that they should have done a lot more serious job of integrating wind assistance into the design. The current "turbines" and kite are just token "add-ons", instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to incorporate one of the most obvious components of "green " marine technology.
  5. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    What is really the difference between all this expense and a sailboat in a long run?
  6. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I suppose that the on-water generation of Hydrogen for storage, using Solar Power would be a good set of skills to develop.

    To generate Hydrogen from Wind Power is not nearly as important, as wind can contribute to propulsion much more efficiently directly.
  7. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

    According to this recent article of the New York Times the dream of clean energy comes at a very high price.
    A Dream of Clean Energy at a Very High Price https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/27/science/fusion-power-plant-iter-france.html
    I heard in conversation about the subject the temperature differences inside the Tomahawk reactor are so huge that the leaking of heat, instead of containment, makes the project impossible, but we will see. They want to use superconductivity magnets to create a strong magnetic field in which the plasma can be contained. In the extreme low temperatures in combination with temperatures close to the temperature of the sun.

    I was optimistic about Iter project but since it takes 32 years since the project has started in 1985 I become more and more sceptical about it.
    ITER - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER
    I agree with you on that one.
  8. Dolfiman
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    Dolfiman Senior Member

  9. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

  10. Dolfiman
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    Dolfiman Senior Member

    I went and saw the boat at Monaco, from the quay as on-board visit was not open to public, and I visited the exhibition where posters and models show the technologies involved. I had exchanges with a kind representative of the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco which hosts the Energy Observer village, no representative of CEA-Liten was there so I also leaved my coordinates to be put aware of their next publications. Here are the info and data that I could collect.

    At first, to avoid a misunderstanding, the real objective of the boat is to be a floating platform to show technologies around hydrogen production and storage within a 6 years round the world cruise. For the purpose of the demonstration as for practical reasons, the boat uses itself the net power of the energy to be autonomous in propulsion (at low speed) and on-board living. But is not as such the prototype of a future hydrogen powered vessel with an efficiency concern in relation with a payload, the sub-title « The first hydrogen vessel around the world » is a bit misleading, or confusing at least.

    So the core goal is not to promote a boat innovative energy propulsion : it is to demonstrate the feasability of energy storage using hydrogen and restitution using fuel cell, when fed with various types of renewable energy, according to : Renewable but intermittent energy production >>> immediate storage on Li-ion batteries >>> production and long term storage of hydrogen in high pressure tanks >>> delayed use of this energy using fuel cell.

    A micro model, functioning with 2V as electrical input, shows the core equation in action : 2 H2O + Energy input => 2H2 + O2 => 2 H2O + Energy output (a small fan showing this restitution, see the photo here attached).

    So, the demonstrator is the assembly of :
    • Various renewable energy inputs

    • Li-ion energy storage at short term

    • Hydrogen production, storage and energy restitution devices

    • Various energy outputs

    1. Renewable energy inputs :

    Photovoltaic panels : 120 m2 using 3 different technologies : conformable (flexible enough to follow a 3D form), bifacial (can receive direct and indirect light from sea surface acting as a mirror), with antigrip surface. Crest power : 21 kW

    Wind turbines : presently, there is one with vertical axis 1 kW + one tri blades wind diameter about 6 feet, power ?
    Comment : such energy production is ok at quay only, at sea it is a non sense if the boat is on batteries for its propulsion.

    Kite for boat propulsion when downwind : smart kite driven by a computer system, fit either to help sustaining speed or, in most favorable case, to provide energy through hydrogenerators 2 x 2 kW connected to 2 reversible electrical engines with a 97% efficiency.
    Comment : as you have already commented in this thread, it is clear that a classic sailing catamaran could be a lot more efficient for such purpose. Imagine a ton of hydrogenerators on Ultim Macif, sailing beam reaching back and forth at 20 knots instead of 30 knots due to the drag of the hydrogenerators, that can produce a lot of kW.

    2. LI-ion power batteries 400V 106 kWh :

    Short term energy storage, and used to deliver the various power demands : propulsion, electrolyse, compression, general power supply in 220V and 24 V.

    3. Hydrogen production & storage, energy restitution

    Desalination by 2 stages inverted osmose systems : 105 l/h

    Electrolyser for the decomposition of H2O molecule in O2 and H2 : 4 Nm3/h at 30 bars

    Two stages compressor of H2 : hydrogen compression from 30 to 350 bars

    Hydrogen reservoirs : long term storage, include 8 tanks of 322 liters at 350 bars, made of aluminium alloy (inside) and carbone fiber (outside), for a total of 62 kg of H2, « which can offer an autonomy for 5 days at 6 knots” (dixit Jérôme Delafosse).

    Fuel cell : for the conversion of hydrogen in electricity (22kW) and in heat (80°C). The heat is valorised for on-board climatisation and hot water.

    4. Energy outputs

    Propulsion : 2 x 41 kW at 3000 rpm, supplied by the 2 reversible electrical engines as already mentioned here above.

    As already mentioned : Desalination, Electrolyser, Compressor, General power supplies for the boat

    Additional info : 1400 sensors are installed on-board

    Some quotations of Jérôme Delafosse from a previous interview at Nantes stop in September :

    « On particularly sunny days, Energy Observer can produce around 18 kW / h with solar power only, which is almost 10 kW / h more than it needs to operat”

    “The two on-board wind turbines (with vertical axis) give a bit of trouble: "They do not work yet, there is still a lot of work on this point, especially in marine environment operation, with problems of corrosion and vibrations "

    « The boat, which has already reached 12 knots thanks to clean energy, is currently operating at an operating speed of 6.5 knots, its electric motors being very efficient. … At 12 knots, we consume 45 kW / h whereas at 6.5 knots the need is only 12 kW / h. In the perspective of the world tour, our goal is to be able to obtain a transit speed of 8 knots. We are not there yet but we are working on it. »

    « We are on an experimental platform and we have permanently on board engineers and technicians working on the development and adjustments of the various systems. We go gradually and we must remain patient and humble, because this boat is a first and a real technological challenge. It's still the beginning of a great adventure.”

    “In 2018, the catamaran will visit different countries of the Mediterranean, before making a tour of Northern Europe. It's a gradual rise. We start with short trips between French ports, then it will be between countries of the Mediterranean before returning to the north. All of this serves to prepare the world tour, which will include major transits, such as the crossing of the Atlantic in 2019 and that of the Pacific in 2020 "

    "We will sail around the world with 50 countries and 101 stopovers, meeting people who innovate for the planet. Today we are at a turning point. We see the consequences of global warming and, on the other hand, solutions that emerge with concrete applications. In just two years, we have seen a real change in mentality. Green energy does not cost more money, it brings in and the energy transition could go much faster than we imagine, even the energy experts with whom we exchange are now convinced "

    “Projects such as this one are intended to demonstrate that autonomy through the energy mix is possible, and applicable not only to a boat, but also to land structures. The message is simple: if you can go around the world on a boat without fossil fuel, houses, neighborhoods and cities can also become autonomous thanks to the energy mix "

    By hoping this can be helpful for this thread that I read with great interest,

    Energy Observer_Solar panels.jpg Energy Observer_Tri blades wind turbine.jpg Energy Observer_Hydrogen micro model.jpg Energy Observer_Fuel cell.jpg
    Manfred.pech, schakel and rwatson like this.
  11. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

    The Energy Observer team has released photo's of a scale model with wings on both hulls.
    Not sure if they are going to realise it. First application of the America's cup wings that I see on another vessel.
    Wings energy observer.jpg
    Wings energy observer 2.jpg
  12. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    H2 is a real PIA to work with in practical systems.

    The Jr High School experiment where you crack H2O into H2 and O2 seems promising and doable, but once you get away from glass test tubes and STP the H2 becomes problematic with weird corrosion of metal at higher pressures.

    I thought an H2 system would be cool for off-the-grid and SHTF, just because it seemed like a reasonably concentrated fuel that could be produced from any power source and didn't need a specific starter material like bio-diesel.

    IMO, all this is is a bunch of people who got excited about a futuristic looking boat. If you are going to make real progress on H2 power you should put it on an old tugboat with nice workshop and see how many NPCs from the UN that attracts.
  13. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

    It's not unobtainable but a lot of work still has to be done before it's really implemented.
    The Dutch Normalisation Company NEN ( dutch industry norms) provides already tested and proven technology that makes hydrogen technolgy feasible:
    There are litterly dozens of projects build here right now to show that hydrogen as a fuel is obtainable.
    The caloric value is higher than conventional fuels, it brings a lot of power.
    When you take as energy resource wind-energy and solarcells, you have a zero CO2 emmission powersupply.
    An exsisting cargoship 110 meters is being rebuild to hydrogen. The proposal for this ship is attached:

    These are the specs:
    cargoship hydrogen.PNG

    I am planning a visit to the wharf. If someone is interested I'll post pictures.


    Attached Files:

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  14. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Do post pics and any info you have. In due time I believe hydrogen fuel will be a viable alternative. There are broader questions for this fuel source and propulsion method:

    1. Does the political will exist in Europe to ramp up hydrogen production so it is readily available at every sea port? Contrast the charging stations being installed by Tesla so electric cars can recharge. Is there sufficient hydrogen supplies and is the cost feasible? The back end logistics has to be both available and cost effective. If the fuel is too sparse and expensive the transition will be difficult.

    2. Contrasting equal shaft horsepower diesel and hydrogen engines: Is the hydrogen engine cost competitive? Factors such as engine cost, reliability and maintainability are critical to future success. Thus, the long term logistics on cost must be worth the investment.

    Globally, I do feel this technology is seriously underutilized and nations around the globe should redirect investment and tax incentives for manufacturers who provide both the hydrogen fuel and hydrogen engines. With all the potential wind and solar energy potential, this energy can be captured, electrolyzed/converted to hydrogen provided as a resource for these vessels.

    The solar/hydrogen Unesco boat is a good engineering tool and proves to be an optimized vessel with low drag, but it's just too expensive for ordinary sailors who are perfectly happy with a sailing yacht. I do see potential for hydrogen cargo vessels & cruise ships that burn a lot more fuel overall. Ideally, this should be the area of focus. Below is one research vessel on the drawing boards. The on-board hydrogen tanks are HUGE. If this amount of fuel storage space is required for larger vessels, and it must be mounted up high like that, that poses a practical problem.


    Hydrogen-Powered Ship on the Drawing Board https://www.machinedesign.com/community/hydrogen-powered-ship-drawing-board
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018

  15. schakel
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    schakel environmental project Msc

    I liked your article about Zero V.
    Shows that it is a R&D project in the US of A as well.
    It's good to bear in mind that investments in heavy industry are proven high capital investments. That's why things go slowly. You can't change fuel industry in an eye-blink.

    Politically carbon dioxide reduction is high on the agenda.
    Cost effectiveness will be determined by taxes. If you buy a ship or car on hydrogen there is a reduction in capital expenses.
    Further are the taxes in carbon based fuels raised while hydrogen is said to be taxfree.
    Government needs this money to subsidise hydrogen generationplants,
    I send you the article an anouncment for the biggest hydrogen plant in europe plant that will be build in Ijmuiden.
    Dutch to build Europe's biggest hydrogen electrolysis plant - newmobility.news https://newmobility.news/2018/10/18/dutch-to-build-europes-biggest-hydrogen-electrolysis-plant/
    It's still in the R&D phase so we will see what happens.

    There some news on the Hydrogen ship!
    They are going to install wings on both hulls to make the ship more economical.
    These wings will be developed by VPLP. Engineers behind Oracle's 90 by 90 winged trimaran for the 2010 America's Cup.
    Projects - VPLP Design https://vplp.fr/

    Here is the article:
    Energy Observer teste un nouveau propulseur éolien : les Oceanwings® http://www.energy-observer.org/actu/fr/energy-observer-teste-un-nouveau-propulseur-eolien-les-oceanwings/
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