The world’s most media-covered explorer has signed a long-term partnership with the Italian cruise company, headquartered in Geneva, based on image, routes and eco-boat development. We met Mike Horn in Monaco, where his 32-metre sailboat, Pangea, was moored. By Eve Deray
On what basis would you work with MSC on a carbon negative boat building project?
Mike Horn: It has developed a high-performance hydrogen-powered fuel cell, and is therefore non-polluting. When MSC approached me to launch Explora, a luxury company that’s very demanding on the environment, I asked its executives if they’d be interested in building a prototype with my technology. They enthusiastically answered, “Yes.”
How does your battery work?
Mike Horn: somehow with water. The water molecule is H20, when it is electrolyzed, the hydrogen is recovered and stored to produce non-polluting energy.
So Explora boats will use this technology?
Mike Horn: Not the first. Which will be opened on July 17th started before our partnership. But I hope the next ones will take advantage of our technology. We are in a period of research and development, and hydrogen in my opinion is the new energy of the future. We will never miss it
Mike Horn: During the September cruise going to Greenland, I will join the Explora boat with my schooner leaving for my crew, and I will go up and lecture to the cruise passengers to explain the phenomenon. It will be great!
What is the timing you set for yourself?
Mike Horn: Currently, about 200 engineers are working hard. And in fourteen months, we’ll start building a hydrogen fuel cell capable of powering a cruise ship.
On Explora’s first voyages, did you bring anything beyond your image as an explorer, author of 27 Tours Around the World, and extremely media friendly?
Mike Horn: Not on the boat. On the other hand, I have imagined original ways thanks to my experience in this field and constant concern for the defense of the environment. Customers will find out how ice is broken, how it should be stored, and so on. And during the September cruise going to Greenland, I will join the Explora boat with my schooner which I will leave for my crew, and I will go up and lecture to the passengers of the voyage to explain this phenomenon. It will be great! We will not only admire the glaciers, but also explain the environmental impact of melting ice associated with global warming.
For cruise passengers, this isn’t really a vacation anymore…
Mike Horn: But I think we can no longer travel as before. We must travel for protection. Explora customers will have this environmental awareness. This is the condition for further travel.