Every hero has an extraordinary story - this is that of Chloé Zaied, Founder and CEO of HYNOVA and General Manager at Ephyra, who has been working with hydrogen ships for the last three years.
I was and still am a ship captain. I’ve sailed a great deal throughout the world, but a few years ago I returned to the fold, in the Calanques where I grew up, to set up a family business chartering boats for visiting the Calanques National Park. We organise trips that allow people to discover this magical environment and at the same time raise awareness of its fragile nature.
A jellyfish! In the Calanques, we can tell the state of health of the sea from the jellyfish – when there is a massive invasion of them, we know that there is a problem of heat, pollution, or both! And in the last few years, this has unfortunately become a recurring phenomenon. We are also seeing dolphins and tuna moving away... Beyond my fascination for these cnidarians that have existed for 620 million years and survived by adapting, they are a real natural indicator of a deeper imbalance in our ecosystem. As a captain, I face a dilemma between my business that I adore and the sea that I cherish – if you consider that a conventional boat releases approximately 620 kilos of CO2 a year, I am letting people visit the marine environment that I want to protect... while polluting it. That’s not possible for me. I right away saw hydrogen as the solution to reconcile my passion for the environment with my business which is offering my passengers a marvellous experience.
First of all, I prefer to say fighting “for”; it’s a matter of point of view but it’s important. And I am fighting for other alternatives and to make people understand that other possibilities exist...My main weapon is really education – when you do something new, you must explain it, help people understand it and share the idea, to ultimately – I hope – change mindsets.
I created the first hydrogen-powered motor yacht in France. I’m talking here about an officially approved yacht that can really transport passengers. For me, this really is the solution that reconciles everything, even ecology, performance and innovation. As well as the prizes and awards, we organised a Sea Show between Marseilles and Monaco. Over two months, in 11 ports throughout the Côte d’Azur, we demonstrated the boat, organised tours for children’s activity centres, schools, public authorities and so on. It clearly changed the course of Hynova’s adventure, even if it was quite exhausting!