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First hydrogen-powered vessel to embark on a round-the-world voyage

A global shipping and logistics group is partnering with a former race boat to pioneer towards zero-emission shipping.

Energy Observer, launched in April 2017, was the first vessel in the world to both generate and be powered by hydrogen.  

The CMA CGM Group and Energy Observer are leading an experiment that involves sailing around the world to test and develop energy solutions based on hydrogen, solar, tidal and wind power.  

CMA CGM will contribute its industrial expertise to this “floating lab” in order to promote the use of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel source for the shipping industry in the years to come. 

The aim of the experiment is to develop cleaner and more sustainable energies to eliminate CO2 emissions, greenhouse gases and air pollutants in the future.

CMA CGM will contribute its shipping and logistics expertise to help develop technological solutions capable of limiting the environmental impact of shipping. 

The Energy Observer village will be made from containers converted and transported by CMA CGM with operational support from the entire CMA CGM global network. 

CMA CGM stated the vessel will travel the globe, presenting the latest technological innovations to the largest possible number of people and raising awareness about ecological transition issues among all audiences. 

The company also stated that they have been “long been committed to protecting the environment and reducing its carbon footprint”.

Between 2005 and 2015, the Group reduced its CO2 emissions per container transported by 50%, and it has set itself the target of reducing it by a further 30% between 2015 and 2025. 

Tanya Saadé Zeenny, Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, said: “CMA CGM is joining forces with Energy Observer to accelerate the development of tomorrow’s energy solutions, particularly hydrogen,”

“Our partnership will mobilize all of CMA CGM’s know-how. Our teams of engineers and R&D experts are already working and our network around the world will be strongly mobilized to ensure the logistical support of Energy Observer’s worldwide ports of call.”

Victorien Erussard, Energy Observer’s Founder and Captain said CMA CGM is a “key partner in our quest for clean transport”.

“With CMA CGM’s huge experience in the shipping industry, our respective engineers and our technology partners, we have every chance of achieving our goals, which are ambitious but increasingly realistic,”

“The sea is something we can all share, and it is time to share our skills in order to protect the ocean, our favourite environment. We are delighted to be joining the 500-plus vessels in the CMA CGM fleet.” 

The group’s 506 vessels are connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to a unique fleet centre in the maritime transport industry. The centre allows the vessels’ routes to be optimised, including reducing speeds and fuel consumption in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

Other energy saving initiatives currently in practise by CMA CGM include using liquefied natural gas for large capacity vessels, cutting all vessels from using the Northern Sea Routes (NSR), testing world first biofuel made from recycled vegetable oils and forest residues and the development of numerous eco-technologies. 

The group is currently working on the development of clean energies for carbon-free transport to federate all transport and logistics player, that is supported by the French President Emmanuel Macron.

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