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Competitive sailing for climate research: BMW supports Team Malizia in the “Ocean Challenge” environmental initiative

Competitive sailing for climate research: BMW supports Team Malizia in the “Ocean Challenge” environmental initiative

  • Germany
  • Hamburg/Munich. When Boris Herrmann becomes the first German to contest the toughest regatta in the world, the Vendée Globe, in 2020, he not only wants to sail around the globe producing zero emissions. Team Malizia will also use the action to gather important data for climate research, while also making school children more aware of the need to protect the oceans of the world. This objective is cumulated in the initiative “Ocean Challenge”, which is supported by team partner BMW.

BMW is involved in the electronic measuring equipment, which will be integrated on board the IMOCA 60. Sustainability is an integral part of the corporate strategy of the BMW Group. Moreover, BMW and the Team Malizia engineers are working on the development of a zero emissions alternative to the 380kg diesel engine (including fuel), which is also on board for safety reasons. An electric engine with BMW i battery technology is one potential option for crossing the oceans without fossil fuels.

Throughout the campaign, Herrmann will sail a total of 70,000 nautical miles, in part with Pierre Casiraghi, the Malizia team founder and youngest son of Princess Caroline of Monaco. In collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, and the Kiel GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, the racing yacht “Malizia” as a sensor unit on board, which measures the C02 and salt content, as well as the temperature of the water. Team Malizia will be packing an extra 35 kilograms of weight on board and using an extra 24 watts of electricity to collect the valuable data.

Scientists believe that at least 30 percent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, three quarters of which is in the Antarctic Ocean. This affects the living organisms in the underwater world. Investigating and counteracting the consequences is a crucial task for the future of the next generation. At the same time, there is only reliable data for around five percent of the oceans – which is true of the Antarctic Ocean in particular, where there is no commercial seafaring. In the Vendée Globe, Herrmann will sail in precisely this region, and provide the rare data that climate research so badly needs in order to better understand and model the global circulation of CO2.

Sustainability, innovations and intensive research is also the path that the BMW Group is taking with the BMW i, a comprehensive concept for sustainable and visionary mobility. Which is why BMW is not only collaborating with Team Malizia to develop a zero emissions solution for the on-board electronics, but is also whole-heartedly supporting Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi in the “Ocean Challenge”.

The second aspect of the project is to get children interested in the campaign, but primarily in protecting the oceans. The aim is to get the younger generation on board and to make them more aware of a key issue for the future. At many of the starting and finishing locations, there will be children’s press conferences and sailing trips with the younger generation. Additionally, traditional and digital learning and experiential resources will be developed under the honorary leadership of educationalist Birte Lorenzen. The Ocean Challenge is aspiring to close collaboration with at least ten schools in six countries (Germany, France, Monaco, Italy, Great Britain, USA).

For Boris Herrmann, the mission is on the same level as sporting success: “It’s not enough to simply sail fast. We need to take care of our element and ensure that the younger generation understands and internalises the importance of clean seas.”

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