Energy Observer was in Nantes from the 9th to the 17th of September for its fourth stopover of its Odyssey for the Future.
From the 9th to the 17th of September, Nantes welcomed Energy Observer for its fourth stopover of its Tour de France. The event took place Parc des Chantiers (île de Nantes) right by the Big Elephant. This area, which used to accommodate ship yards, redeployed itself to become the creative and innovative neighborhood of Nantes, a symbolic choice for Energy Observer.
A hydrogen themed arrival, with Johanna Rolland
For the catamaran’s arrival at Parc des Chantiers, the crew had the pleasure of welcoming on board Johanna Rolland, the Mayor of Nantes, who came to greet the team. The boat was also escorted by the Jules Verne 2, the first passenger transport vessel running on hydrogen, which will start operating on the River Erdre in October.
More than 8,000 visitors in the Energy Observer village
All through the week, the crew were delighted to welcome over 8,000 enthusiastic and inquisitive visitors : school groups, engineers or people who came out of simple curiosity – the Nantes public certainly made their presence felt during this fourth stopover. Most notably a VIP guest : the Grand Elephant from the Machines de l’Île.
Victorien Erussard and Jérôme Delafosse meet the public
On Saturday the 16th of September, Victorien Erussard, the boat’s captain, and Jérôme Delafosse, the expedition leader, met the Nantes public. Whether visitors were novices or specialists, they all had the opportunity to exchange with the two men for over an hour, and question them about life on board of Energy Observer, about hydrogen and the future of sea transport…
The very first grams of hydrogen produced on board
All through the week, there was no let-up in the work for the engineers and crew, with the two main tasks for this stopover in Nantes focusing on the wind turbines and electrolysis.
With the help of the nearby Nantes ICAM school, and based on the results of the navigation from Cherbourg to Nantes, the architects and engineers analysed the first tests carried out on the vertical wind turbines. Since the turbines still needed to be fine-tuned, the team decided to remove one of them and carry out tests in the wind tunnel.
But most importantly, for the very first time, Energy Observer produced its first grams of hydrogen using water from the River Loire! These first tests were successful and were eagerly awaited by all the team, and will be continued between Nantes and Bordeaux.
Thélem Assurances in the spotlight
There were two special evening events that allowed plenty of encounters : the Nantes stopover was dedicated to Thélem Assurances, Energy Observer’s main partner. In between boat visits and work meetings, this was the ideal occasion for the teams to come closer together.
“After the launch in Saint-Malo, after Boulogne-sur-Mer and Cherbourg, it is now the turn of Nantes to welcome Energy Observer. It was quite natural for Thélem Assurances, the expedition’s main partner, to sponsor this stopover. In fact, Thélem Assurances and the River Loire share a long history. Our company was set up in the Loiret region, on the banks of the Loire, and our headquarters are still there. Many of our agencies are located along the river in the Centre-Val de Loire region and in Pays de la Loire, especially near Nantes. Today, I would like to invite you to visit this magnificent vessel, a flagship for innovation and hope on Quai François Mitterrand in Nantes. Beyond the feeling of pride and confidence in the future characterising the project, at Thélem Assurances we would again like to pass on our warm encouragement to Energy Observer for its Odyssey for the Future.”
General Manager of Thélem assurances, main partner of Energy Observer
On social networks
Day and night, a large number of visitors shared their experience on social networks with #EnergyObserver.
Energy Observer left the jetty at Parc des Chantiers on Monday 17 December at 7.34 a.m.
During the voyage between Nantes and Bordeaux, the navigator Yves Parlier and his team from Beyond the Sea came on board Energy Observer to test the 50m² smart traction kite. The kite’s size requires considerable manoeuvring skills. It will be connected to the centre of the vessel by 100-metre cables. An inertial measurement unit is used to help the kite communicate with the boat via a robot.
The power kite:
- reduces the boat’s energy consumption by decreasing the power used by the electric engines
- converts the electric engines into hydrogenerators
- increases the vessel’s speed
The six-year tour around the world will be the opportunity for the Energy Observer and Beyond the Sea teams to test and optimise this ambitious and innovative technology, with the aim of reducing the energy consumption of commercial shipping.
Although the stopover is mainly devoted to these technical manoeuvres, the boat will be on display for 36 hours in the Bassin des Chalutiers, from Thursday 21 in the evening to Saturday 23 September in the morning.
The European Green Capital in 2013, Nantes has developed an ambitious policy in favour of sustainable development. In 2016, the city hosted Climate Chance, an international summit of climate players. This year, a major public debate was the opportunity for local inhabitants and players to discuss concrete solutions for the energy transition. In welcoming Energy Observer, Nantes has shown its determination to contribute to the challenge of energy transition alongside its partners.
Semitan, a public transport network operator in the Nantes Metropolitan area, has always placed innovation at the heart of its development (NGV tramway since 1985 and all buses will be NGVs in 2020). With the electric Busway vehicles and hydrogen NavibusH2, Semitan is supporting the Nantes Metropolitan area’s policy in favour of energy transition more than ever.
NGE, a public-private partnership in charge of managing the ports and marina quays on behalf of the Metropolitan area, helped make Energy Observer’s stay in the city possible by providing access to the Chantiers jetty and associated harbour services free of charge all through the stay. NGE’s aim was to highlight its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and its participation in actions relating to the major debate about energy transition, to which the company is contributing.
Welcome to Nantes!