The Circular Explorer starts its journey to protect the ocean

  • First of its kind solar powered catamaran operated by One Earth One Ocean to clean coastal areas from plastic waste

  • Driving education and science platforms to empower broader action and marine research

  • Holcim becomes partner of Solar Impulse Foundation to drive clean technologies that are good for the planet

The Circular Explorer, developed by One Earth One Ocean and made possible by Holcim, starts its mission today to clean up our ocean from plastic waste, 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 today in Hamburg, Germany, in presence of Bertrand Piccard, Swiss explorer and environmentalist, the 100 solar powered catamaran, starts its journey in the Baltic Sea, with the kick-off 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.

Bertrand Piccard, founder Solar Impulse Foundation: “Since my round-the-world solar flight in 2016, I have given to the Solar Impulse Foundation the challenge of identifying 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.”

Günther Bonin, oeoo: “With One Earth - One Ocean we have 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.”

Jan Jenisch, CEO Holcim: “Everyone has a role to play to preserve our ocean. We are proud supporters of the Circular Explorer to be part of the solution. I am inspired to see how young changemakers can act as catalysts to solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. The Circular Explorer’s education and science programs are designed to mobilize them to take action.”

Starting its journey in Germany, the Circular Explorer will spend three months in the Baltic Sea, with a focus on driving its education and science programs, while participating in key events, such as Climate Week in Hamburg. In 2022, it will relocate to Manila Bay in the Philippines to start its plastic recovery and recycling work, while advancing its education and science programs and engaging with local communities.

As it launches the Circular Explorer, Holcim becomes a partner of the Solar Impulse Foundation to contribute to its mission of driving clean technologies that are good for the planet and commercially sustainable. The partnership builds on Holcim’s 17 efficient 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 around the world. See more Solar Impulse Foundation endorsed solutions here.

As a world leader in recycling, Holcim is launching the Circular Explorer as a symbol of its commitment to driving the circular economy and preserving nature. On its net zero journey, today Holcim recycles 50 million tons of materials across its business, on its way to 100 million tons by 2030. At the forefront of green building solutions, Holcim launched the world’s first green cement with 20 recycled construction and demolition waste inside, representing 20 less materials drawn for nature, building more with less.

About Holcim
Holcim builds progress for people and the planet. As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructure and improving living standards around the world. With sustainability at the core of its strategy Holcim is becoming a net zero company, with its people and communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving the circular economy as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. Holcim is the company behind some of the world’s most trusted brands in the building sector including ACC, Aggregate Industries, Ambuja Cement, Disensa, Firestone Building Products, Geocycle, Holcim and Lafarge. Holcim is 70,000 people around the world who are passionate about building progress for people and the planet through four business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates and Solutions & Products.

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Founded in 2011 by Günther Bonin and led by a team of marine biologists and experts, the environmental organization One Earth - One Ocean e.V. (oeoo) deals with the protection of the environment, in particular the water and coastal protection. It focuses on marine litter cleanup and is involved in the field of oil purification, microplastics, research and education. With the international documentation on marine littering, the organization aims to change behaviour of individuals with regard to (plastic) waste. In 2018 oeoo has become an official partner of the UN Environment #CleanSeas campaign, aiming to engage governments, the general public, civil society and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic litter.

The Solar Impulse Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by the Swiss explorer and clean technology ambassador Bertrand Piccard. It is committed to identifying and promoting technological solutions that can protect the environment in a profitable way. Recently, the Foundation achieved its first goal of identifying 1,000 such solutions to receive the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label. The labeling process is the only evaluation available today that assesses the economic profitability of products and processes that protect the environment in the fields of water, energy, mobility, infrastructure, industry, and agriculture. It is awarded following a rigorous evaluation process covering the assessment of feasibility, environmental impact, and profitability. Bertrand Piccard brings these solutions to decision-makers to help them adopt more ambitious environmental targets and energy policies. 

Important disclaimer – forward-looking statements:
This document contains forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements do not constitute forecasts regarding results or any other performance indicator, but rather trends or targets, as the case may be, including with respect to plans, initiatives, events, products, solutions and services, their development and potential. Although Holcim believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions as at the time of publishing this document, investors are cautioned that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Holcim, including but not limited to the risks described in the Holcim's annual report available on its website ( and uncertainties related to the market conditions and the implementation of our plans. Accordingly, we caution you against relying on forward-looking statements. Holcim does not undertake to provide updates of these forward-looking statements.

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