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Energy Observer to appear at Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe race village

by Energy Observer 16 Sep 2022 07:23 PDT
Energy Observer exhibition village © Energy Observer Productions - Antoine Drancey

Setting sail from her port of registry of Saint Malo in 2017, Energy Observer has already covered over 50,000 nautical miles, made 76 stopovers, 16 of which have involved her travelling educational village, and visited over 40 countries.

  • The Energy Observer exhibition village will form part of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe race village from 25 October to 6 November 2022
  • This exhibition will open its doors from 17 September in Saint Malo, every weekend for the general public and weekdays for students from the region's schools
  • This travelling exhibition and the panoramic Grande roue Ferris wheel will be powered using EODev's (Energy Observer Developments) GEH2® electro-hydrogen generator during the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, in order to provide a practical demonstration of direct zero-emission energy solutions and showcase their potential in event applications

A development of a legendary catamaran, whose many accolades include being the fastest sailboat around the world with Sir Peter Blake, Energy Observer is a laboratory for ecological transition designed to push the envelope with regards zero-emission technologies. From hydrogen to sun, wind and tidal power, all manner of solutions have been experimented with, tested and optimised on her to make clean energies a practical reality accessible to all.

Now an organisation, which embraces both expeditions and innovations, it is presenting its educational exhibition village with the support of the town of Saint Malo and the Brittany region. This educational device exhibited in Paris and then Singapore will make its debut in Saint Malo within the context of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe transatlantic race, and in the weeks prior to the opening of what is an exceptional event for the town and its rich maritime history.

This temporary 210m" exhibition on energy transition dedicated to sustainable energies and hydrogen and comprising two geodesic domes connected via a tunnel, will be set up along the Quai de Rocabey in Saint Malo, next to the panoramic Grande Roue Ferris wheel.

During the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe event, this global device will be powered by the zero-emission GEH2 electro-hydrogen generator developed by EODev, the company created as a result of the research and development work carried out aboard the Energy Observer vessel.

The aim of this major exhibition is clear: to show that the development of renewable energies, low-carbon hydrogen in particular and smart-grid systems are an immediate and practical response to the climate crisis.

Energy, a key challenge in the decarbonisation of offshore racing

The Energy Observer expedition has its roots in the wake of offshore racing. This former racing catamaran, launched by the first ever winner of the Route du Rhum, Mike Birch, then completed numerous circumnavigations of the globe with illustrious sailors like Sir Peter Blake. In 2013, Victorien Erussard, captain and founder, bought the legendary catamaran, which was being stored in a shipyard in Lorient. The boat was subsequently repatriated to Saint Malo, which would go on to become her port of registry.

A native of Saint Malo, Victorien Erussard graced the racing podiums for a decade, in the Route du Rhum, the Transat Jacques Vabre and the Quebec-St Malo, whilst upholding his post as merchant navy officer.

During one of these transatlantic races, when his diesel generator broke in the middle of the Atlantic making it impossible for him to continue making headway with his machine despite being surrounded by an abundance of renewable energies, he realised that the finest victories are those that have meaning. The experience prompted him to devote his time to the race for energy intelligence rather than a haul of sports trophies.

The presence of Energy Observer's exhibition village during what promises to be an exceptional edition of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe is particularly meaningful then.

Indeed, offshore racers are all directly concerned by the desire to save energy and by the ecological impact of their passion on the environment. Every race boat has to power its on-board systems and requires materials whose carbon footprint is far from insignificant.

Though they use the strength of the wind to make headway, race boats have a significant environmental impact. On top of the energy used aboard, the indirect emissions linked to the boats' design and construction phases count for a great deal. In this way, the LCA (Life-cycle Assessment) is an essential tool in understanding what each stage in a boat's existence represents and how to reduce this overall footprint.

Though there are solutions for reducing the ecological impact of boat construction, during the race the challenge is to reduce emissions whilst complying with the class rules requiring more sustainable means to produce and store energy.

In this way, Victorien Erussard has met up with a number of representatives - skippers, technical managers, experts - to get his head around the solutions, which are paving the way forward for a boat race that is more in line with the requirement to protect nature. These reports will be broadcast via Energy Observer media and across the exhibition village during the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe.

As such, the presence of Energy Observer in the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe is an opportunity to showcase all the solutions currently in existence to decarbonise mechanical sport and make top-level competition a catalyst for innovation that is part of the roadmap for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Educating youngsters from Saint Malo about a more desirable future

The Energy Observer Foundation's mission is to bring together expertise in a bid to accelerate energy transition, raise awareness about the potential of hydrogen and promote the Sustainable Development Goals. The opening up of this exhibition village is also intended to play host to as many students as possible from neighbouring schools and educate the young generation about the major challenges of our time: how to produce clean energy without extracting more of the Earth's fossil fuels; how to reconcile energy sobriety and development requirements; how to live a fulfilling life whilst preserving our biosphere.

Energy is a determining factor for the future of our societies, and current affairs show us every day that energy that is clean, affordable and available everywhere and for everyone is a genuine challenge for sovereignty with massive geopolitical and socio-economic repercussions.

A genuine window onto these challenges which affect us all on a daily basis, Energy Observer's educational exhibition features a timeline designed with the support and expertise of Ademe, which retraces the history of energy transition, ecological awareness and the Energy Observer laboratory.

On either side of this timeline housed in a container tunnel, two domes host an immersive and educational exhibition comprising monumental mapping and screens, which make it possible to explore all the on-board technologies on the laboratory vessel, their application at sea and on land, as well as the solutions encountered right around the world through the prism of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, for which Energy Observer is the first French ambassador.

Several hundred primary, secondary and high school students from all over the town and the various conurbations within the department have already signed up to visit this exhibition and discover the Energy Observer Odyssey, as well as the solutions rolled out by the crew and the pioneers of energy transition right around the Globe.

A demonstration of hydrogen's potential to accelerate energy transition

This exhibition village, as well as the Grande Roue Panoramique Ferris wheel, will be powered throughout the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe by EODev's GEH2 electro-hydrogen generator.

This generator will provide the necessary power to support the existing network throughout the duration of the event, with the aim of demonstrating the huge potential of these solutions for off-grid energy production: free of emissions, free of fine particles, free of noise pollution, and able to perform better than the tens of millions of diesel generators in operation worldwide.

Compared with a traditional diesel generator, every single EODev GEH2 generator will save the planet from around 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions throughout its operating life if it is powered using renewable hydrogen (300 tonnes with low-carbon hydrogen and 100 tonnes with carbon hydrogen).

Renewable energies are today's energies, and available at an increasingly competitive rate, these practical, reliable solutions with less of an impact on the environment provide a positive and practical perspective in the context of a Europe-wide energy crisis.


Victorien Erussard, President, Captain and Founder of Energy Observer: "Following on from Paris and then Singapore, we're very pleased to be exhibiting our educational village in Saint Malo, the port of registry for our laboratory vessel launched at the foot of the ramparts here in 2017. At a time when the advent of the hydrogen society and low-carbon energies comprises a key challenge for the future of our societies, the unwavering support of the town of Saint Malo and the conurbation since the initial outline of the project is of very special importance. Brittany boasts a fantastic potential for developing a sustainable ecosystem for producing and distributing renewable energies, as well as clean storage, and we are not only honoured to work closely with its representatives, but we're also confident about our joint ability to build a more sustainable future for its inhabitants. The young generation will certainly make their presence felt since our exhibition village is preparing to host several hundred children over the next few weeks, and it will be accessible to the widest possible audience, especially during the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, to educate one and all about the major challenges of sustainable development, energy sobriety and above all the solutions which exist to protect our planet. The rallying together of all these protagonists fills me with pride and joy as France's primary ambassador for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of course, but equally as someone who grew up here and remains very attached to the sense that my roots are in Saint Malo."

Gilles Lurton, Mayor of Saint Malo and President of the Saint-Malo Agglomération: "Because awareness is collective, for this 12th edition of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, the Town of Saint Malo has been keen to honour sustainable development in all its forms: energy, protection of the sea, its fauna and its flora, soft mobility and many other topics. And what finer example could we wish for to symbolise this commitment than that provided by Energy Observer. From their expeditions around the world, Victorien Erussard, a native of the region, and his team, are able to offer humanity practical solutions and develop technologies to accelerate ecological transition. In this way, they are part of a long tradition of explorers from Saint Malo! Furthermore, by recounting their explorations and their testimonies in local schools and across the Saint Malo region, they are educating the new generation about environmental issues. Thank you to Victorien and the Energy Observer team for getting involved with our youngsters and being a source of inspiration to them... See you in Saint Malo from 25 October in the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe village, so we can come together to share our talents and our know-how during this major celebration, which we hope will be popular and accessible to all!"

Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Brittany Region: "In Brittany more than anywhere else, innovation often hails from the sea. I'm convinced of that fact, as is the Energy Observer team; the technological and human adventure engaged in for several years now is the perfect illustration of this. I'm proud that the Brittany Region is a partner to this open-air laboratory, which works and rallies together for the benefit of ecological transition! Energy Observer is a reflection of our region: the men and women who work here are committed to taking up challenges, seeking solutions and fulfilling their objectives."

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