July 9, 2009 Zero CO2 is the world’s first-hydrogen powered yacht with a fully integrated laboratory to study pollution in the Mediterranean.
The objective of the Zero CO2 project is to sail around the Mediterranean using a clean carbon-free auxiliary motor (gasoline powered motors are commonly used in yachts for all port manoeuvres). The yacht will be presented for the first time at the Paris Boat Show in December 2009. A 12m craft built by the RM shipyard of La Rochelle, the yacht will be equipped with an electric motor driven by a hydrogen fuel cell, developed by CEA Liten of Grenoble.
Test pollution levels in the Mediterranean using a built-in laboratory
A scientific platform installed on the yacht by the University Joseph Fourier (UJF) and its technology transfer subsidiary, Floralis, will be used to collect scientific data on man-made pollution throughout the length of the 10 month trip. The yacht will travel around the Mediterranean coast as far as Turkey on a journey that will commence in March, 2010.
The “Grenelle de la Mer” a major French maritime event that promotes key environmental issues will signal the beginning of the project. The Zero CO2 journey should open up amateur and professional sailors to new ways of enjoying the sea, using cutting-edge technologies that are both more respectful of the environment and more economic in terms of energy consumption.
A key aim of the project is to develop and promote new energy sources that will replace fossil fuels and consequently lead to a reduction in carbon emissions and an improvement with regards to the greenhouse effect. Throughout the journey around the Mediterranean, the Zero CO2 crew will also carry out research into the possibility of producing “green hydrogen” produced through the installation of solar panels and wind turbines on the roofs of port-side buildings. It is through such initiatives that the long-term objective of achieving truly carbon neutral power sources could become achievable.
The Zero CO2 project will test an environmentally-friendly boat powered by hydrogen and renewable energies.
The Zero CO2 journey around the Mediterranean will enable the project owners to:
- demonstrate the efficiency of the combined energy types that power the RM 1200, an environmentally-friendly craft that uses clean energies in place of petrol. These include a hydrogen fuel cell that powers an auxiliary electric motor and renewable energies (solar, wind, hydro power sources) for onboard power requirements.
- analyse data obtained from the air, sea and port sediments using the boats integrated onboard laboratory in order to evaluate pollution from the sea and coastline, especially pollution originating from fossil fuels.
- raise awareness of climatic change, pollution and the importance of alternative energies to the Mediterranean population and professional/amateur sailors.
- promote a culture based on respecting maritime environments through the adoption of self-sustainable energies in port and coastal areas in place of traditional fossil fuels. The project will also aim at increasing the uptake of carbon-neutral renewable energies that do not contribute to the greenhouse effect
The Zero CO2 project team has developed an internet site http://www.zeroCO2sailing.com which will feature a wide range of information on the progress of the project including the various stages of the yacht’s development. The site will also give details of the boat’s journey around the Mediterranean as well as give regular updates on the data that has been collected and analysed by the onboard laboratory. ZeroCO2sailing.com is also an important means of communicating key information about the project to an audience that includes researchers, schoolchildren and the general public.
Key dates and destinations
March to December 2009: construction of the boat, integration of the hydrogen fuel cell and onboard laboratory, planning for the ship’s course around the Mediterranean, and preparation of all logistics for the Zero CO2 expedition.
5th to 13th December 2009: presentation of the Zero CO2 yacht equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell and fully integrated onboard laboratory, for use in environmental experiments at the Paris Boat Show.
January to February 2010: launch and first tests of the yacht on the “Lac du Bourget” in Savoie, Rhones-Alpes, France with the support of the Savoie Local Government and INES (National Institute for Solar Energy).
March to December 2010: first tests of the yacht on the Mediterranean followed by the start of the Zero CO2 trip. This period will see the start of the scientific phase of the trip: environmental data on man-made pollution will be captured and analysed onboard the yacht. Studies will commence regarding the feasibility for the production of “green hydrogen” through the installation of solar panels and wind turbines in suitable port-side locations. Public relations activity (presentations) on the project will take place demonstrating the importance of the project in relation to climate change in selected Mediterranean ports.
Geographic Areas covered by the scientific expedition
After initial tests on the Lac du Bourget in Savoie, France, the boat will be tested again in the Mediterranean before following the Southern French coast and heading for Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Tunisia, Crete, Turkey, the Greek coast, Montenegro, Croatia, the Italian coast, Spain, and the Balearic Islands before sailing back to Marseille in late 2010.
Major Research and Development themes covered by the Zero CO2 around the Mediterranean project
Clean propulsion systems for boats
For the first time, a yacht (an RM 1200 built in La Rochelle) will be equipped with a scientific research and development platform:
- The yacht will be entirely self-sufficient in terms of energy production
- The hydrogen fuel cell and the integration of hydrogen storage systems will be managed by the CEA Liten Institute in Grenoble.
Understanding boats and their environment
The integrated onboard laboratory is made up of two key innovative analytic devices developed by Floralis’s business units, Sara and Ecometrix. These devices will enable the accurate testing of atmospheric pollutants linked to human, urban and industrial activity. These pollutants include carbon monoxide, ammonia and methane, but the team will also collate data on more complex compounds such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the water and sediments of ports.
Key areas of focus for the project will include:
- Potential means of producing self-sustaining “green hydrogen” using solar panels and wind turbines, strategically placed on portside buildings, in order to reduce fuel consumption
- This “green hydrogen” study will be carried out by the University Joseph Fourier and its laboratories.
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