Energy Observer, the first hydrogen-powered vessel aiming to achieve energy self-sufficiency, with zero greenhouse gas and fine particle emissions, has be equipped with Oceanwings® wingsails.

The hybrid propulsion system consisting of a composite mast 12m high and two sails on 32m2, will reduce the craft’s energy spending.

Designed by VPLP Design, Oceanwings® wingsails are jointly developed and manufactured in CNIM’s industrial facilities in La Seyne-sur-Mer. The installation of Oceanwings® on the Energy Observers is the first step towards reducing the environmental impact of global shipping.

“OceanWings® wingsails will undoubtedly find their place in fields as diverse and recreational sailing, yachting, maritime and offshore fishing,” said Marc Van Peteghem, joint founder of VPLP Deisgn.

Inspired by the rigid sails of the America’s Cup, the technology allows energy savings of between 1 and 42% depending on the vessel.

With its fully automated system, Oceanwings® offers the possibility of using wind as the propulsive force, without any need for a sailor-trained crew. The wing is equipped with sensors connected to an embedded intelligence that analyses the environmental conditions and allows it to adapt them.

“Depending on the direction you want to take, the navigation systems sends adjustment instructions directly to the sail. You don’t have to do anything. Everything is automatic,” said Nicolas Sdez, engineer and designer of the Oceanwings® prototype at VPLP Design.

The former racing boat has been repackaged into an electrically-powered ship of the future, operating through renewable energy mix and low-carbon hydrogen producing system using sea water. 

The Energy Observer is the first vessel in the world to produce its hydrogen from seawater due to renewable energies.