International Breakfast Meeting sets course for growth in sustainable boating

Breakfast Meeting SaalThe 2020 edition of the International Breakfast meeting, co-organised by boot Düsseldorf and EBI on 21 January focused on the topic of sustainable boating. The European Green Deal, which has the ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent was at the centre of the discussions followed by talks from electric, hybrid, hydrogen and digital innovators.

Drawing a record crowd of over 180 participants, the International Breakfast Meeting placed sustainability at the heart of the discussions. Welcoming participants, Petros Michelidakis (Director, boot Düsseldorf) said “Over 10 percent of the EU’s population participates in water sports and they want this to take place in a clean environment. The International Breakfast Meeting is the ideal location to discuss the key trends for our sector and proactively develop the future of sustainable boating.”

In his remarks, EBI President Jean-Pierre Goudant highlighted that “For our sector, moving towards sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint is crucial. As EBI, we see this as one of our key challenges for the coming years that we will advocate for. The International Breakfast Meeting clearly shows that our industry is innovating and proceeding on the right path.”

The keynote speech was given by Dr Artur Runge-Metzger (Director, European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action). He presented the European Green Deal, which strives to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 through a transformation towards environmental sustainability and tackling climate change. He highlighted the growth opportunities that this offers across all industries, including upcoming funding opportunities.

Laurent Perignon (Energy Observer Developments) presented the Energy Observer project, which uses a vessel as a test case to study various innovative technologies based on hydrogen. These have been tested, optimised and validated on its global travel. He also addressed upcoming bans of diesel engines in parts of Europe and the growth of marine protected areas as reasons for needing to focus on carbon neutrality in the marine sector. Energy Observer Developments has implemented several hydrogen solutions, including electro-hydrogen gensets for marine use with power ranging from 30 to 100 KVA running exclusively on hydrogen.

Vladimir Zinchenko (CEO, Greenline Yachts) presented the company, which produces vessels with hybrid, electric and Diesel engines. The aim is to shape the future of responsible boating through hybrid engines and ensure that the boats are easy to use for customers and provide the necessary comfort. He underlined that hybrid propulsion has the potential to attract boaters through the comfort of silence, constant power supply and cost savings.

Marteen Bernhart (Founder, La Bella Verde) presented the company, which runs catamaran day charters on Ibiza with new franchises in Brazil and Sidney. The catamarans are autonomous and use solar power and hydro-generation. A new area of their work are sustainable materials for the building of boats to address end-of-life recycling concerns, which La Bella Verde is doing through the development of a fully recyclable boat. In addition, their day-charter catamarans clean the oceans through nets that can be lowered into the water.

Simon Bühl (Founder & CEO, BrandUp Factory) provided an overview of the cross-over between digitisation and sustainability and the need for companies in the marine sector to move towards a big data-driven business model. The aim should be a structured collection and retention of data and a business model based on collaboration and adapted business culture.

Concluding the event, EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill said “We are convinced that the environmental transformation of our industry will create new opportunities for growth in our sector. This must be based on three key pillars: Industry innovation, research and innovation funding, as well as policy that promotes sustainability. These are among the key topics for EBI in the coming years. We want sustainable boating to be made in Europe.”

To receive the presentations from the event, please contact the Secretary-General (pe(at)

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