Race for Water, a Lausanne-founded organization dedicated to the preservation of water and the oceans, spearheaded an ongoing expedition in 2017 that will raise awareness of plastic pollution in our waters, while showcasing the ability to navigate across the world without the use of fossil fuel. Sponsored mainly by Breguet, the R4W boat uses a power generating system comprised of solar panels, hydrogen, and a towing kite.
HOW DOES THIS BOAT WORK?
There are 512 m2 of solar panels installed on the deck of the vessel, capable of generating enough power to fill 8 tons of lithium-ion batteries. That’s enough power for 36 consecutive hours of sailing!
Hydrogen fuel cell
A complete hydrogen production solution is installed on the boat, thanks to the generous contribution of Plastic Omnium. Sea water is desalinated and stored before being converted into hydrogen via electrolysis. This purified hydrogen is then stored in specialized tanks at pressures of up to 250 bars.
When needed, the hydrogen is converted into electricity through a pair of 30 kW fuel cells, which can provide up to an additional 6 days of autonomy. The only waste dispensed during the entire process is water.
This is similar to the technology used in fuel cell cars, such as the Toyota Mirai.
Wind surfing kite
Supplied by SkySails, the boat is also outfitted with a self-steering towing kite launched at an altitude between 100m and 200m. Entirely controlled by computer, it enters a flying pattern that optimizes forward movement and helps with energy conservation, allowing power to be allocated to other resources such as hydrogen production.
The ultimate mission of the Race For Water foundation is to demonstrate the existence of practical solutions for preserving the oceans. Throughout the 2017-2021 odyssey that will take its team of 5 crew members plus a number of distinguished scientists and researchers on a journey across the world, the focus will be to raise awareness chemical pollution, in particular plastics pollution, in our waters to the public. After all, it does take the collective efforts of everyone to ensure that our planet can still be enjoyed for many generations to come.
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