Sailing the seas of the world, green-powered

Two years after the round-the-world flight of Solar Impulse, the green journey continues over the seas with the catamaran Energy Observer


JUNE 2017

Achieving sustainable growth through advanced technological solutions and a responsible business model has always been a keystone in Prysmian industrial evolution. Always aware of the responsibility Prysmian has to the planet, the company’s constantly aiming to help renewable industry partners by delivering cables that benefit the future of both our world and their businesses.

Exploiting Solar energy is the next field in which testing the ability of the Group to provide efficient solutions for every possible application.

Prysmian has a long-standing leadership and expertise in providing sustainable solutions for energy production, being a strategic business partner for the biggest TSO companies involved in the development of the solar and the offshore industry, as well as the most important developers.
A commitment in the field proven by long-lasting and trouble-free attributes, offering innovative, sustainable and cost-effective cable solutions for the offshore renewable power sector. For instance, Prysmian cables have been used by the company’s partner TenneT to connect five wind farms in the North Sea to mainland Europe: SylWin1, BorWin2, HelWin1, HelWin2, BorWin3.

In the last three years, Prysmian entered as a Specialised Partner in the Solar Impulse project, in which a special solar-powered plane landed in Abu Dhabi after successfully ending the first ever round-the-world flight using only the power of the sun. The Group was a crucial contributor to the milestone achievement in aviation by supplying of 150 km of special aerospace cables that distribute power around the aircraft. The epic journey of Solar Impulse began in 2015 from the same Abu Dhabi airport and touched Asia, Japan, Hawaii, the United States and North Africa, completing a world-round trip without burning a single drop of fuel.
The 17,000 solar cells integrated into the wings of this revolutionary airplane provided renewable energy to each of its four electric engines via the 150km of special aerospace cables made by Prysmian.

Today, the challenge moves to the seas, with Energy Observer, the world’s first catamaran powered solely by renewable sources, presented at the Paris Air Show on 20 June 2017. Energy Observer and CEA Liten, the research institute that developed the project, have chosen Prysmian as the official supplier of cables which, through a high level of performance, reliability and light weight, provide energy generated from renewable sources – both wind and solar – to the vessel's motor.

Today, the challenge moves to the seas, with Energy Observer, the world’s first catamaran powered solely by renewable sources

Victorien Erussard, a former merchant navy officer and a French sailing champion, has been appointed as the boat’s captain, and said he wanted to circumnavigate the world with a powerful message, similar to the philosophy that drove the Solar Impulse 2 team. “We want to demonstrate the use of renewable, green, zero-pollution fuel technologies and spread the message all over the world. It is for this reason that we will be visiting 50 countries, stopping at 101 ports,” he says.

The transformation of the catamaran in Energy Observer is the last chapter in a decade-long story. As a matter of fact, the boat was originally built in 1983 and named Formule Tag. It won the Trophéé Jules Vernes for the team Enza New Zealand skippered by Sir Peter Blake. “It was then the biggest catamaran of all time. Sir Blake was also a sailor committed to environmental issues. So we are proud to navigate this boat. The Energy Observer team decided to give this legendary boat a new life. And now, we hope to build another legend around this boat,” added Jerome Delafosse, 45-year-old, French documentary maker and member of the on-board crew.

The catamaran is 30.5 meters long and 12,8 meters wide and is powered only by renewable energy, drawing on 130m2 of photovoltaic panels, two vertical axis wind turbines and a sophisticated system that desalinates water, transforming it into hydrogen through electrolysis. The boat is currently at sea, having left the port of Saint Malo last 13 April for this six-year trip around the world: an opportunity to convey and build consensus about new solutions for a cleaner future.

“We are extremely proud to take part in the Energy Observer project and provide our contribution in the form of our knowledge and technology,” explained Alain Jeanguillame

“We are extremely proud to take part in the Energy Observer project and provide our contribution in the form of our knowledge and technology,” explained Alain Jeanguillame, Director of the Aerospace Business Unit of Prysmian Group, at Salon du Bourget (Salon International de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace, Paris, 19-25 June), at which the partnership with the Energy Observer was officially presented. “After having equipped the Solar Impulse, this partnership allows us to continue down the path towards clean energy to which we have committed, by once again taking part in an ambitious and compelling project.”

A partnership that further strengthens the commitment of Prysmian Group in the environmental responsibility, both in projects and in production processes. Every day, the company champions efficient use of natural resources, optimises logistics flows and practises responsible waste management.