Understanding environmental issues
For many years now, the various forms of pollution of our ecosystem have been on the increase.
To achieve a significant improvement in line with the needs of nature and the planet, we need to converge all sectors towards more sustainable practices. Managing one source of pollution will do nothing to solve our common problems, such as global warming, melting ice, air quality, species extinction and so on.
Together, with cohesion between sectors of activity and citizens, we can make progress.
As far as pollution linked to CO2 emissions is concerned, this accelerates the melting of ice and raises water levels by +3.5mm per year. Also, the discharge of wastewater and heavy metals from ships is damaging marine ecosystems. Fauna and flora are disappearing over the years.
For this reason, protected areas have been created, accessible only by boats equipped with environmentally-friendly engines and self-sufficient wastewater treatment systems.
Did you know ?
There are now almost 500 dead zones, covering more than 245,000 km2 worldwide - an area the size of the UK.
Let's talk hydrogen and electricity
In addition to synthetic fuels, biofuels and natural gas are used to make navigation more eco-responsible. Compressed air is also used in combustion engines.
Everyone's talking about it, but what is it?
Its scientific name is "dihydrogen". It's a molecule in the form of a gas in its natural state, used either directly in an internal combustion engine, or to produce electricity (which will be the final fuel).
Hydrogen is said to be green when it requires no fossil resources to produce.
For example, hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water using green electricity is green.
It can be produced on land, at sea or even on board a boat. The necessary equipment is called an electrolyzer.
Hydrogen comes in two forms: gas and liquid.
It can be compressed at pressures ranging from 200 to 1000 bar.
There is also a technique for storing gaseous hydrogen in a liquid to reduce its flammability, but this is not liquid hydrogen; it is simply packaged.
This energy source is much better known, but it makes sense if it's also green.
For this purpose, certificates are purchased by suppliers from manufacturers.
Electricity can be used directly with an electric motor and batteries, or produced on an electro-hydrogen boat by a fuel cell (using hydrogen).
For both energies, there are several levels of qualification, the main ones being green, blue and gray.
Burning 1 kg of hydrogen releases almost 4 times more energy than 1 kg of gasoline, and produces only water.
Did you know ?
I'd like to know how...
One of the main questions when considering which solution to adopt is: What's out there ?
For propulsion (yachts and tenders) :
Diesel and electric hybrids (already available)
Diesel and electro-hydrogen hybridization
Diesel and hydrogen hybridization
For the hotel load :
Diesel and hydrogen hybridization
Diesel and electric hybrids
Hydrogen generator set
Bio-fuel generator set
For fuelling stations :
Fixed or mobile hydrogen
Fixed electric in fast chargers
Low voltage port electricity
Mobile biofuel solutions
To know more
What's important in the energy transition is not only to consider pollution at the point of use, but also the product's TCO. Its complete production, use and recycling cycle must be considered when choosing a sustainable solution.
So how do you decide ?
It depends on usage, range, top speed, cruising speed, desired energy consumption, and many other technical criteria.
And what's the point of reducing the use of diesel engines ?
To reduce your carbon footprint, limit fossil fuel extraction, preserve marine flora and fauna by reducing water pollution, and improve air quality.
Propulsion, but not only...
Everyone agrees that the most eco-responsible energy for sailing is the wind.
However, there are many situations in which it is not possible to have sails or to use them, such as in port.
The propulsion of a boat, whether sail- or motor-powered, can be modified and/or replaced by a more sustainable one, in order to reduce pollution.
But on larger vessels such as yachts, there is a significant consumption of energy for life on board (lighting, living areas, electronic devices, etc.).
And for this part too, it's possible to opt for more eco-responsible generators.
What's more, the energy required for navigation can be obtained by means other than recharging.
Capturing solar energy, using water electrolysis, recovering energy in motion...
Obviously, before any modification, bio-fuel is a first step towards decarbonization, and can be added to new technologies in the short and medium term.
Did you know ?
By 2020 in France, there will be 300 anchorage and light equipment zones (ZMEL) across the country to reduce the number of anchorages.
In port and at sea
The transformation of the marine industry is causing the chicken-and-egg problem.
Like the energy transition in the automotive industry, the marine and yachting market is facing the same challenge. Few products are currently on the market, because there are no facilities for recharging them, and vice versa.
So, how do you recharge your sustainable boat?
With hydrogen, the solution currently available is to recharge from trucks that keep the refuelling station charged and can refuel in any port that can accommodate the vessel. Refuelling takes just a few minutes. Transfer time for 30 kilos is around 15 minutes, compressed to 200 bar.
In terms of electricity, the first current solution is to connect the boat to the existing grid, but this is at low voltage and requires several hours to fill up. Several months ago, we began setting up so-called fast-charging stations, which can fill up in around an hour.
What are the long-term solutions for hydrogen?
Numerous companies are working to develop production and refueling stations for gaseous or liquefied hydrogen, delivering several tonnes per day and on a permanent basis. This advance will enable a refueling network to be set up in many ports.
What about at sea?
Floating, movable barges are now capable of producing hydrogen.
In addition, refueling modules can be installed on barges for recharging at sea. This solution is ideal for ports with limited capacity.
However, there is currently no solution for electricity.