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Energy Observer 2: Chart Industries joins the project to propel liquid hydrogen

by Energy Observer 3 Jun 12:26 UTC
Energy Observer EO2 feeder © Energy Observer - Kadeg Boucher

Energy Observer, through its subsidiary EOConcept, a global pioneer in low-carbon maritime solutions, announces major advancements in the development of its pioneering and ambitious project, Energy Observer 2, with the arrival of a new industrial partner, Chart Industries, one of the world's leaders in solutions for clean energy and industrial gas markets.

Energy Observer 2 is a liquid hydrogen cargo ship with the ambition of becoming the lowest carbon-emitting cargo vessel in the world. This flagship project, developed with the support of its historical and technological partners, including Accor and Air Liquide takes a proactive approach to addressing the climate challenges faced by the maritime sector. It is aligned with the revised strategy of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union's 'Fit for 55' legislative package.

In the face of the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by nearly 50% by 2050 in accordance with IMO objectives, regulations such as FUEL-EU Maritime and the RED III directive encourage the adoption of near-zero emission fuels. Energy Observer 2, with its advanced liquid hydrogen propulsion technology, represents a concrete and ambitious response to these regulatory requirements.

Since her inaugural voyage in 2017, Energy Observer has been at the forefront of demonstrating the viability of hydrogen as an energy solution for the maritime sector. Over the past year, significant progress has been made in feasibility studies for the design of Energy Observer 2 with the support of LMG Marin, a pioneer in decarbonization in the maritime sector. Capable of transporting 1,100 TEU containers over 1,800 nautical miles with an autonomy of 14 days, this 160-meter-long cargo ship uses electric propulsion powered by 4.8 MW fuel cell systems provided by EODev and its industrial partner Toyota.

The adoption of liquid hydrogen requires significant innovations in the supply chain and storage, challenges that Energy Observer 2 aims to address. Energy Observer and Chart Industries, along with the other industrial partners of the project, will work together on cutting-edge technologies and associated equipment for the energy transition of the maritime sector.

"The extensive cryogenic expertise and experience of Chart, combined with our recognized track record in providing liquefaction technologies, liquid hydrogen tanks, and solutions across various sectors, make us the ideal partner to turn this groundbreaking project into a reality," says Jill Evanko, President and CEO of Chart Industries. "We look forward to collaborating with Energy Observer and the rest of their partners to decarbonize maritime transport while demonstrating the viability and potential of hydrogen as a marine fuel."

"This collaboration aims to support Energy Observer in launching a new dynamic phase, leveraging the lessons learned and proven technologies from our 7-year Odyssey around the world. The multiple industrial solutions of Chart Industries represent a major asset, reinforcing our motivation to push the boundaries of technological exploration for the decarbonization of the maritime sector. Thanks to their expertise, we envision significant improvements in performance and energy efficiency," says Victorien Erussard, founder and president of Energy Observer. "The goal is to build a benchmark hydrogen port ecosystem and reduce the overall cost of liquid hydrogen to promote its adoption in maritime transport, particularly for certain types of flows and distances to be covered."

With an initial investment estimated at more than 100 million euros, covering the studies and construction of the ship, the project illustrates an important step in the financial and technological commitment needed to contribute to the energy transition of the maritime sector. Collaboration between the public and private sectors, notably through public aid and industrial partnerships, is crucial to ensuring the short-term viability and competitiveness of liquid hydrogen.

Energy Observer 2 is more than just a ship; it is a symbol of the industry's commitment to the energy transition in maritime transport. It reflects the collective will to push technological boundaries and move towards a cleaner and more environmentally friendly maritime future.

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