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Solar-powered catamaran to remove ocean plastic

The Circular Explorer, a catamaran developed by One Earth One Ocean and made possible by Holcim, launched on 22 July to remove plastic waste from the ocean, while advancing marine science and education. Putting the circular economy to work, the catamaran has the capacity to recover four tons of plastic waste daily, which it recycles into new applications, from new products to alternative energy.


To empower broad-based action, it runs an education program targeting students as changemakers, and serves as a science laboratory to advance marine research in partnership with leading marine institutes.

Inaugurated in Hamburg, Germany, the 100 per cent solar-powered catamaran, starts its journey in the Baltic Sea, with the kickoff of its education and science programs. In 2022, it will be deployed to the Manila Bay in the Philippines, which the country’s government and private sector partners are rehabilitating, to start its plastic recovery and recycling work.

“Since my round-the-world solar flight in 2016, I have challenged the Solar Impulse Foundation to identify 1,000 solutions to protect the environment in a profitable way. It is fascinating to see the potential of innovation to turn world challenges into opportunities. The Circular Explorer is a great example, with its vital mission to push the boundaries of the circular economy to protect our ocean from plastic waste. I am excited to witness it as it embarks on its journey and will follow every step of its action,” said Bertrand Piccard, founder Solar Impulse Foundation.

“One Earth – One Ocean has been working to protect marine ecosystems since 2011. The Circular Explorer is our most advanced experiment to date. Fully powered by solar energy and designed to recover four tons of plastic waste per day, I look forward to seeing it make a real difference,” said Günther Bonin, founder One Earth One Ocean.

“Construction materials have the extraordinary advantage of being recyclable, with potential to contribute to a more circular economy resulting in less waste. Holcim launched ECOPact green concrete in Australia earlier this year, with 30 per cent to 60 per cent less embodied carbon. In New Zealand, we supply low carbon cement replacements to enable our customers to lower their concrete carbon footprint,” said George Agriogiannis, Holcim CEO, Australia and New Zealand.

As a partner of the Solar Impulse Foundation, Holcim is contributing to its mission of driving clean technologies that are good for the planet and commercially sustainable. This builds on Holcim’s 17 solutions labeled by the Solar Impulse Foundation as positive for the planet, such as ECOPact, the world’s broadest range of green concrete, enabling carbon neutral construction.