Electric catamaran starts six year journey

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Energy Observer is designed as an energy self-sufficient ship. Toyota has been supporting the catamaran with its technology since the beginning of the journey in 2017. For the next leg of the voyage, the Toyota Technical Center Europe has further developed the fuel cell system with the components known from the Mirai and installed them in a compact module suitable for maritime use. It now offers more power and efficiency, but also a high degree of reliability – the basic prerequisite for a safe crossing of the Atlantic and Pacific.

The development, production and integration of the components took seven months. Toyota regards this comparatively short time span as proof of the flexibility and adaptability of its fuel cell technology. “This project shows that Toyota’s fuel cell technology can be used in any environment and can be applied in a wide range of business areas,” says Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe.

In the Mirai series sedan, but also in various buses and trucks, fuel cell drive has been in everyday use for several years. Its use in maritime transport is the next step on the way to a hydrogen society and to a further reduction of CO2 emissions, the vehicle manufacturer advertises.

The Energy Observer has been converted from a racing boat into an energy-autonomous ship that should emit neither greenhouse gases nor particulate matter. For this purpose, the boat is equipped with a mix of different energy sources, including solar energy and hydrogen propulsion. The necessary hydrogen is produced on board from seawater in a CO2 emission-free process.

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