Toyota is one of the pioneers of the Hydrogen fuel cell technology. They developed a fuel cell power plant for the Toyota Mirae. After successfully testing the fuel cell on the Mirae, the company has developed fuel cell technology for buses and commercial vehicles by scaling up the technology used in the Mirae. The idea is to develop a sustainable transportation system based on the hydrogen economy under the Environmental Challenge 2050 vision of Toyota.
The Energy Observer is a French seagoing catamaran vessel which is propelled by electricity generated through renewable sources. The vessel also generated hydrogen from the sea water in a system which has been under trial since 2017. The Energy Observer is based out of Saint-Malo Port in France. Since 2017, she has been embarking on voyages across the globe, powered only by renewable electricity. The vessel aims to visit 101 ports in 50 countries across the globe to spread the message as well as prove the possibility of absolutely clean marine transport. Till date, she has visited 48 ports in 25 countries.
Toyota has developed a further scaled up version of the fuel cell based on the Mirae fuel cell for marine applications. The same has been installed onboard the Energy Observer and is presently under trial in France. This fuel cell will propel the Energy Observer using the Hydrogen generated onboard making the vessel completely autonomous and self sustaining for her voyages across the Atlantic as well as Pacific oceans.
The Energy Observer was a former racing vessel. It has a crew of 8. She is 31 m long, 13 m wide, and 12.85 m high, She displaces 34 tons and has a draft of 2.2 m. At present, the vessel is mainly powered by solar modules and has a top speed of 4 to 5 knots with electric propulsion and 8 knots with propulsive wings.