The marine industry is rapidly adopting the use of electricity to power their vessels for economic and environmental reasons. This boat, while not a commercial vessel, is an interesting proof of concept of how the industry will evolve toward clean technology.

Aboard the Energy Observer, Victorien Erussand and Jérôme Delafosse are sailing around the planet without using any fossil fuel. Victorien Erussard, an experienced ocean racer from the city of Saint-Malo in the north of France, was halfway through a dash across the Atlantic when he lost all power. Sails kept the boat moving, but Erussard relied on an engine and generator to keep the electronics running. He temporarily lost his autopilot and his navigation systems, jeopardizing his chances of winning the 2013 Transat Jaques Vabre race. Never again, he thought. “I came up with the idea to create a ship that uses different sources of energy,” he says. The plan was bolstered by the pollution-happy cargo ships he saw while crossing the oceans. "These are a threat to humanity because they use heavy fuel oil." Five years on, that idea has taken physical form in the Energy Observer , a catamaran that runs on renewables. In a mission reminiscent of the Solar Impulse 2, the solar-powered plane that Bertrand Picard and André Borschberg flew around the world a few years back , Erussard and teammate Jérôme Delafosse are planning to sail around the planet, without using any fossil fuel. […]


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