Holcim’s first of its kind solar-powered catamaran to remove ocean plastic

The Circular Explorer, 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.

Circular Explorer 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% 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 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 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.”

Günther Bonin, founder One Earth - One Ocean: “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.”

Jan Jenisch, Holcim CEO: “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 change-makers 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.”

George Agriogiannis, Holcim CEO, Australia and New Zealand: "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% to 60% less embodied carbon. We are proud to be directly contributing to a more sustainable environment through local innovations and inspired global projects such as the Circular Explorer.”

On a mission to clean up our oceans

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. 

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 from nature, building more with less.



About Holcim

As the world’s global leader in building solutions, Holcim is reinventing how the world builds to shape a world that is greener, smarter and that works for all. A world that is low-carbon and circular for a net zero future. A world driven by innovation and digitalization making more with less. A world that improves the quality of life for all.

Holcim solutions are used in infrastructure, commercial, industrial and residential settings.