Plastic Omnium is partnering with the Race for Water Foundation, becoming the official sponsor of Race for Water, a ship powered by a combination of renewable energies‑: solar, wind and hydrogen‑. This revolutionary vessel left Lorient in April 2017 for a 5-year world tour to promote the energy transition. It is committed to preserving the oceans from plastic pollution. It will stop over at Tokyo Bay during the Olympic Games in August 2020.
Plastic Omnium, through its recently-acquired subsidiary Swiss Hydrogen based in Fribourg, Switzerland, is the architect of fuel cell propulsion which converts into electricity the hydrogen stored on board in pressurized hydrogen tanks. The electricity generated directly powers the electric engine, which drives the propellers and maintains the battery charge level. Hydrogen is produced directly on board by electrolysis of previously desalinated and purified sea water, powered by the surplus solar energy generated when the boat is docked. The ship is also propelled by two other sources of energy: sunlight, which is directly converted into electricity by the solar panels, and the wind, which drives a kite wing. Weighing over 100 metric tons, Race for Water is an electrically-propelled boat, exclusively powered by these three clean energy sources.
The vessel demonstrates the viability of innovative and sustainable technical solutions that can protect the oceans from fossil fuel pollution.
Through its commitment to Race for Water, Plastic Omnium is also contributing to the search for solutions to avoid plastic waste (which accounts for 80% of marine waste) reaching the oceans. This involves recovering plastic waste through social entrepreneurship and the circular economy. The Race for Water Foundation has devised a way of transforming raw plastic into energy, thereby motivating affected populations to collect this waste for recycling in the same way as they collect other recyclable materials such as aluminum, paper, cardboard and glass.
Contributing to scientific knowledge, building awareness and educating, and implementing sustainable solutions designed through innovative technologies: these are the three aims that Plastic Omnium is proud to support during the Race for Water odyssey, which will span five continents and stop at thirty-five different ports by July 2021.
Marco Simeoni, President of the Race for Water Foundation:
“We’re very proud to welcome Plastic Omnium as Race for Water’s Official Partner for the next 4 years of our Odyssey. This commitment testifies to Plastic Omnium’s dogged determination towards the preservation of the oceans and energy transition. We’ll also benefit greatly from the capacity for innovation of a world leader and, its new expertise regarding the domains of clean mobility in particular with Hydrogen, which forms an integral part of the energy mix that powers the Race for Water vessel: sun, wind and water (=Hydrogen). Welcome on board!”
In addition to this sponsorship, Plastic Omnium also confirms its commitment in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen propulsion, by:
- creating the Israeli fuel cell company ΞPO-CellTech in 2016;
- acquiring two companies with a strong technological background in December 2017: Optimum CPV, a Belgian company specialized in the design and production of tanks in filament composite to store pressurized hydrogen, and Swiss Hydrogen, a Swiss company specialized in the design and production of solutions to manage and control energy in fuel cell systems (“balance of plant”);
- creating Plastic Omnium New Energies, a subsidiary of Plastic Omnium Auto Inergy, which develops the energies of the future, and has 150 dedicated engineers.
Plastic Omnium’s investments in hydrogen and fuel cells have grown to €100 million in two years. They will double by 2020.
The Group already has an electric car fitted with a Swiss Hydrogen fuel cell, which is powered by a 350 bar-pressurized hydrogen tank. The vehicle, which has already traveled over 150,000 kilometers, has a range doubled to over 400 kilometers thanks to this system. Plastic Omnium will unveil the new fuel cell demonstrator electric car in mid-2019.
∆-Deltatech, the new advanced research center dedicated to new energies based in Brussels, is due to open in June 2019 and will bring together 200 engineers. In this context, Plastic Omnium aims to become a major player in clean storage and automobile propulsion systems using fuel cells.
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Plastic Omnium is the world leader in automotive exterior components and modules, automotive fuel systems, and waste container solutions for local authorities and companies. The Group and its joint ventures have 33,000 employees in 127 plants, 24 R&D centers and 31 countries worldwide, serving 80 automotive brands. Plastic Omnium is listed on Euronext Paris, compartment A. It is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD) and is part of the SBF 120 and CAC Mid 60 indices (ISIN code: FR0000124570).