Energy Observer | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Kochi: Energy Observer, the first zero emission vessel powered by renewable energy and hydrogen, made a stopover at Kochi port, its 75th as part of its six-year expedition around the world experimenting and spreading the message of development of sustainable and self-sufficient energy solutions.
The catamaran vessel is the first French ambassador for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, and has reached here after 17 days of sailing and 1,645 nautical miles from Langkawi in Indonesia.
On the occasion of the vessel's stopover, the Energy Management Centre (EMC), the state designated agency to enforce energy conservation act in Kerala, has organised a special event-- "Green hydrogen pathways for sustainable future", a forum to bring together many Indian institutions around the challenges facing green hydrogen development.
The vessel is anchored at Bolgatty Palace and will be in Kochi, the only stopover in India, till November 24. Numerous conferences are being organised throughout the stopover, including interaction with the crew onboard the vessel for students, teachers and researchers from the University of CUSAT.
Victorien Erussard, the captain and founder of Energy Observer, said the yacht, developed in France, has been sailing for five years as a laboratory for the ecological transition.
"This stopover will also be an opportunity to welcome on board all the relevant players in energy transition including Energy Observer's partners," he said addressing the press here on Monday.
Lise Talbot Barré, Consul General of France in Pondicherry and Chennai, said the stopover comes at a time when France and India are strengthening their cooperation to advance carbon neutrality and develop renewable energies.
"I am very happy to introduce the laboratory ship of the ecological transition, Energy Observer, to our Indian friends from Kerala, this state of the Indian Union is so close to the heart of the people of France. This stopover will allow us to reinforce the synergies between French and Indian actors in the fight against climate change," Barre said.
She added that Kerala's green hydrogen mission has resulted in it being the first state to include hydrogen-powered mobility in its zero-emissions mobility policy.
"France is investing heavily in this field, which opens up new opportunities for scientific and economic cooperation between our two countries. The transition to a low-carbon economy is a priority of the strategic partnership between France and India," she said.
Dr R Harikumar, the Director of the Energy Management Centre (EMC), under the Department of Power of Kerala Government said they were working towards attaining energy efficiency in all sectors of economy in the state of Kerala.
"We are convinced that green hydrogen plays an essential role in the decarbonisation of our economy and the protection of the environment, as part of the latest amendment of the Energy Conservation Act adopted at national level, in this perspective, we are thrilled to support Energy Observer's stopover by organizing a 3-day workshop that will bring together all the key players at the regional and federal level who are committed to the energy transition," Harikumar said.
As the first French ambassador for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, this circumnavigation of the globe also aims to explore all the solutions accelerating ecological transition and raise awareness among all the public audiences, decision-makers and manufacturers through a series of inspirational and educational content (documentary films, web series, scientific articles and a travelling exhibition, etc).
The crew allowed the media a sneak peek into the 30-foot-long vessel which can comfortably house five crew members.
The vessel has 202 sq-ft of solar panel on top of it making efficient use of solar power. It also has advanced equipment to garner wind power. The boat can produce hydrogen directly onboard, through seawater electrolysis.
The crew said that they have been sailing on solar, wind and hydrogen power for the past five years and at a stretch, they have sailed 40 days during the COVID lockdown in 2020 without making port.
The vessel is scheduled to visit 50 countries and 101 ports including ports of historical importance, wildlife sanctuaries, natural reserves, endangered eco-systems, besides attending international events.
It is the first vessel with autonomous means of producing hydrogen on board and without emitting greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energy.
The hydrogen produced is stored in 62 kg tank. The vessel also includes a traction kite and two reversible electric motors of hydrogenation, one lithium battery (106 kWh), a desalinator, electrolyser, compressor and a fuel cell.