The Energy Challenge is delighted to announce a renewed 3-year ocean racing and innovation partnership, in the Class 40 Championship, with Imerys, the world leader in mineral-based specialties for industry.


Following a successful podium place in last year’s Class 40 Championship, the continued support of Imerys as Title Partner will enable skipper Phil Sharp and the Energy Challenge to aim for top results in the highlights of the offshore racing calendar, including the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre and the 2018 Route du Rhum. Through the offshore racing circuit, the Challenge aims to prototype a stand-alone hydrogen-electric energy system as a practical zero-CO2 solution for replacing fossil fuels in the boating sector.

“We are thrilled to be extending our partnership with Imerys to develop the Energy Challenge’s performance and renewable objectives in ocean racing” said Phil Sharp, skipper and founder of the Energy Challenge.

“It is fantastic to have the support of Imerys, and to experience their passion for continual improvement and thirst for innovation, which provides a natural fit with the Energy Challenge. We look forward to a renewed exciting sporting and technical partnership set to demonstrate and accelerate clean technologies in the marine sector”, Phil continued.

The partnership aims to advance efficiency and energy security of the clean hydrogen-electric prototype through the application of Imerys minerals. This includes the development of a new performance battery pack, as well as the application of their materials in non-slip solar technology and fuel cell membranes for increased efficiency.

“This project embodies Imerys’ constant pursuit of excellence in terms of responsible innovation, performance and human adventures, and the Energy Challenge is in alignment with our commitments to both the environment and education. The Imerys Graphite & Carbon and Roofing divisions in particular are working closely with The Energy Challenge project team through the development of lithium-ion batteries and solar panels. Our colleagues’ expertise is contributing to develop the greenest, high performing and reliable energy system of its generation.” Gilles Michel, Imerys CEO

The renewed partnership is a significant step towards the Energy Challenge’s intention to compete in the next 2020 Vendee Globe, for which it is looking for additional partners to expand the project further in order to progress to the IMOCA 60 race class.

Through a competitive entry in the Vendee Globe, the Energy Challenge aims to become the first yacht to complete a non-stop circumnavigation without fossil fuels, and importantly demonstrate the performance and reliability advantages of renewable, hydrogen-electric technologies over conventional diesel power units.