Sailing into the future with Energy Observer

Toyota Motor Europe to sponsor Energy Observer, the first hydrogen vessel around the world

Launched in 2017 in Saint-Malo (France), Energy Observer is more than just a boat.

The vessel is a vehicle that demonstrates and shares solutions for extracting energy harmlessly from nature. Energy Observer showcases technologies that will support tomorrow’s energy networks to make them efficient and applicable on a large scale. It is this model, based on a mix of renewable energy sources and energy storage that the Energy Observer team will promote on their worldwide tour.

Energy Observer is the first autonomous hydrogen vessel that emits no greenhouse gases or fine particles. This electrically propelled vessel of the future operates by using a mix of renewable energies and a system that produces carbon-free hydrogen from seawater.

This journey is both a human and technological challenge. A six year odyssey to test on-board technology in extreme conditions. An endeavour to navigate the first energy autonomous boat around the globe. In addition, the crew led by Victorien Erussard and Jérôme Delafosse, is also searching for solutions to champion an ecological and energy transition.

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Toyota and Hydrogen

Hydrogen is at the very heart of the Energy Observer project and the major reason for Toyota Motor Europe’s participation. On board the boat, it allows the vessel to gain a considerable weight advantage (50% of the displacement of the ship) when compared to an exclusive battery storage solution.

Used as an energy storage means, it is key to overcoming the issue of the intermittent supply of energy both on land and at sea: to exploit surplus energy and thus extend the autonomy of both mobile and stationary installations.

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Tokyo 2020: a common goal for the two hydrogen promoters

After sailing in France in 2017, now in the Mediterranean and on to Northern Europe in 2019, Energy Observer aims to reach Tokyo in time for the Olympic Games in 2020.

Toyota has been pioneering hydrogen technology for the last 20 years. Carrying out considerable testing in demanding conditions to ensure hydrogen can work as a practical fuel alternative. Hydrogen allows for quick refuelling, a significant driving range and a great emission-free driving experience that is helping to power cars, buses, trucks and even forklifts.

During its expedition, as France’s chief ambassador for the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, the Energy Observer team is producing documentary contents about concrete and reliable solutions, around the world. Their encounters and discoveries will be broadcast through an 8 episode series on Planète+ next autumn, and also a web-series that will be shared on social media.

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“Energy Observer is an exciting initiative and we at Toyota Motor Europe are delighted to be associated with such a passionate and dedicated team. This project once again demonstrates the many practical uses of hydrogen that can be developed as we transition towards a Hydrogen Society.”  Matt Harrison, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Toyota Motor Europe.

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