A solar-, wind-, and hydrogen-powered catamaran dubbed the Energy Observer is making a stop in the Bay Thursday evening and staying for the week.
The French-owned boat, constructed in the last decade, has been touring the world as a kind of concept vessel — a poster child for clean energy and the potential future of marine transport. One of its backers is French environmentalist Nicolas Hulot, who told the Guardian back in 2016, "I support it because it’s the first project of this kind to actually be undertaken, it’s ambitious and looking toward the future."
The Energy Observer made a stop in Long Beach over a week ago, and it's on its way up the coast, ready to come through the Golden Gate at 5:30 p.m., as SFGate reports. The boat will dock near the Exploratorium, and it will be there for locals to check out until May 13, when it sets sail for Hawaii.
"After three years spent navigating European waters, we’re going to discover and share a whole new level of energy transition in the Pacific, which is just thrilling," said boat captain Victorien Erussard at an event in Long Beach. "We’re also quite proud to get the chance to show the Californians that the French are also quickly breaking new ground, both in their area of expertise in the maritime world, and also on land."
The 30.5-meter catamaran is equipped with four Oceanwings smart wing-sails, and covered in photovoltaic panels. And as Erussard told the Guardian, "If there’s no sun or wind, or if it’s night, [the boat uses] stored hydrogen." Diagrams here and below show all the systems and how much each contributes.
In a nearly 11,000 mile trip last year, the boat traveled between 4.4 knots (5 mph) and 14.8 knots, relying primarily on solar and wind energy.
Prior to coming to the U.S. this trip, the Energy Observer passed through the Panama Canal and stopped in the Galapagos Islands.
Go down to the Embarcadero and check it out, or run out to Crissy Field or Baker Beach soon to see the thing pass under the Golden Gate Bridge.