The eco-friendly and energy self-sufficient catamaran Energy Observer, of which Groupe BPCE is a leading partner, is the first ship to be propelled using a combination of renewable energies and hydrogen generated onboard from seawater.
In 2021, the boat sailed more than 15,000 nautical miles across oceans and seas without emitting any greenhouse gases or fine particles thanks to a combination of several sources of renewable energy (sun, wind, marine currents) and an onboard system for extracting carbon-free hydrogen from seawater.
This is because Energy Observer has its own onboard hydrogen generation unit fitted in its floats. The production process is divided into several steps: the desalination and purification of the seawater, electrolysis and, ultimately, the compression and storage of the hydrogen under a pressure of 350 bars in 8 carbon fiber tanks. The hydrogen is then converted into electricity using a fuel cell to extend the boat's autonomy at night or when the weather conditions are unfavorable. Thanks to this combined use of renewable energies and hydrogen, Energy Observer can sail autonomously without having to make any port calls.
Groupe BPCE has made the struggle against climate change a core principle of its 2024 strategic plan. The partnership with Energy Observer, a veritable laboratory for innovation in the field of renewable energies and the use of hydrogen as a source of power, is perfectly aligned with this ambition to play a major role in the energy transition, notably by helping our customers to overcome their own transition challenges.