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Extreme E and Enel Foundation reveal St. Helena’s first onboard scientific research project

24 August 2021, London: Extreme E, the electric motorsport series designed to raise climate change awareness, and Enel Foundation, the energy transition think tank, have today confirmed their first joint science research project to take place in the purpose-built science laboratory onboard the series’ floating centrepiece, the St. Helena.

Extreme E has been working with the Enel Foundation, the championship’s Founding Scientific Partner, since its inception, and last year the two organisations collaborated to launch the championship’s open call for research named ‘Racing for the Planet.’ The call invited international scientific researchers to apply to join the ship to conduct research to advance the knowledge of the consequences of climate change and/or adaptation and mitigation strategies on the world’s oceans and the Planet.

This project, led by 24-year-old Belgian Alexander Vanhaelen, is centred around investigating changes to marine life due to climate change. Alexander will join the St Helena’s championship journey as it departs from Greenland – where the series will hold its Arctic X Prix – at the beginning of September.

Alexander will be supported onboard by Adam Pantelis Galatoulas, and both scientists are currently studying Marine Biology at the University of the Algarve, Portugal. The pair will filter seawater during St. Helena’s latest voyage to obtain DNA shed from marine organisms, and by sequencing this DNA will look to determine how marine life has changed across various parts of the ocean that experience different conditions with the aim of creating a global inventory of vertebrate species supporting existing data banks.

There are a variety of reasons for these potential changes which both scientists are investigating, including human impact and climate change, which lead to a loss of biodiversity and impact the make-up of marine environments and the species that live there. With rates of extinction and the introduction of invasive species at an all-time high, this type of research and the knowledge it will provide are critical to understanding the behaviour of marine communities to inform effective ecological management and conservation biology.

The team’s findings will be published in an international scientific journal and are planned to be orally communicated at scientific meetings dedicated to marine biodiversity.

Lead Scientist Alexander Vanhaelen, said: “I’ve been a fan of both motorsport and nature for as long as I can remember, so Extreme E and Enel Foundation’s call to research was the perfect opportunity to combine my passions to help the Earth – it really is bucket list material – and I’m very grateful to be selected.

“Sadly, nature is suffering, and we are determined to see what we can do to make it better. I believe Extreme E is a very useful platform to show the world how to interpret the signs nature has been giving to us and how to act upon them.

“I hope our research will contribute to the race against global climate change by confirming which species occur in which regions, and how they have been moving or even disappearing. My ultimate goal is to provide this knowledge to improve sustainable fisheries, conservation and management. I know this project will provide vital information for this which I am incredibly motivated by.

“In 2016, I saw how a single fish can make a whole family celebrate like they have won the world championship, and I know together we can gather the knowledge to give that feeling to many more people whose lives depend on the ocean by helping to sustain its resources.”

Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, said: “A big welcome to our first scientific project team – Alexander and Adam. I’m fascinated by this project, and looking forward to hearing more about our oceans and how its inhabitants are suffering at the hands of the climate crisis, but also how we can make change.

“We are grateful to our Scientific Partners at the Enel Foundation for their contribution to our science and legacy ventures and are proud to have our first research initiative confirmed. It’s incredible that we will get to use our ship for this purpose, so our huge thanks for helping us realise this dream.”

Louisa Tholstrup, Extreme E’s Science and Legacy Manager, said: “Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the most pressing issues of our time. In addition to the direct impacts on the economy, societies and people’s health, rapidly advancing climate change negatively impacts many of the world’s species and ecosystems, driving biodiversity loss. At the same time, protecting and restoring biodiversity is crucial to addressing climate change. Up until recently, these twin crises have tended to be tackled separately, but two such complex systems cannot be managed in isolation from one another.

“Alexander’s research is part of a growing trend in the scientific community working on the synergies and trade-offs between climate and biodiversity. It contributes to research urgently needed to take action to protect biodiversity that simultaneously contributes to the mitigation of climate change and understanding the capacity of marine species and ecosystems to adapt to those climate changes that cannot be avoided. We are very grateful to Enel Foundation for supporting this crucial research.”

The St. Helena is now in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland for the championship’s third event – the Arctic X Prix – which takes place this weekend from 28-29 August. Extreme E’s Impact Correspondent Izabela Rekiel, will be sharing the stories of the ship and the science via her social media channels @izyofficial.

To learn more about Extreme E, visit – www.Extreme-E.com

About Extreme E:

Please visit the Extreme E media centre to access images, videos and press releases: https://www.extreme-e.com/en/mediacentre

Extreme E is a radical new racing series, which will see electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most remote locations and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower carbon future for the planet.

To minimise local impact, Extreme E races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TV broadcast, and on social media.

The St. Helena, a former passenger cargo ship, has undergone a multi-million Euro refit to minimise emissions and transform her into Extreme E’s operations hub. The ship will be used to transport the championship’s freight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port, minimising Extreme E’s footprint, as well as being used to facilitate scientific research through its on-board laboratory.

Extreme E is also pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology which will enable its race fleet to be charged using zero emission energy. This innovative solution from AFC Energy uses water and sun to generate hydrogen power. Not only will this process emit no greenhouse emissions, its only by-product will be water, which will be utilised elsewhere on-site.

Season 1 Calendar:

Desert X Prix: AlUla, Saudi Arabia
3-4 April 2021
Ocean X Prix: Lac Rose, Senegal
29-30 May 2021
Arctic X Prix: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
28-29 August 2021
Island X Prix: Sardinia, Italy
23-24 October 2021
X Prix Location 5

About Enel Foundation: Founding Scientific Partner

Enel Foundation: Knowledge platform for a clean energy future.

We focus on the crucial role of clean energy to ensure a sustainable future for all. By envisioning a sustainable future – resilient and equal – boosted by quality education and an enlightened self-interest by the business community. The future we want is powered by affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern electricity, smartly distributed to all.

We focus on research and education. By developing partnerships with pre-eminent experts and institutions across the globe, leveraging on the vast knowledge of our founders. We conduct research to explore the implications of global challenges in the energy domain, develop scenario analysis, define policy and regulation opportunities and promote education programs for qualified stakeholders in the scientific and institutional realms.

We operate at the intersection of business and society. By engaging institutions and governmental bodies, thought leaders and civil society representatives, industry experts and academia. We are a non-profit organization seeking to converge with likeminded actors determined to solve global challenges ensuring a sustainable future for all.

About Continental Tires: Founding Partner and Official Tire Partner

Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent, and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. Continental generated preliminary sales of €37.7 billion in 2020 and currently employs more than 235,000 people in 58 countries and markets. In 2021, the company celebrates its 150th anniversary.

The Tires business area has 24 production and development locations worldwide. Continental is one of the leading tire manufacturers with more than 56,000 employees and posted preliminary sales of €10.2 billion in 2020 in this business area. Continental ranks among the technology leaders in tire production and offers a broad product range for passenger cars, commercial and special-purpose vehicles as well as two-wheelers. Through continuous investment in research and development, Continental makes a major contribution to safe, cost effective and ecologically efficient mobility. The portfolio of the Tires business area includes services for the tire trade and fleet applications, as well as digital management systems for tires.

About CBMM: Founding Supplier

CBMM is the world leading supplier of niobium products and technology. Headquartered in Brazil, with offices and subsidiaries in China, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States.

CBMM offers technical innovation to customers around the globe through a team of over 2,000 highly trained, dedicated professionals providing cutting-edge niobium products and technology to over 400 clients in around 40 countries.

About LuisaViaRoma:

Defined by the Financial Times as “A haven for directional fashion,” LUISAVIAROMA.COM is the top online luxury fashion destination with 5,000,000 visitors per month and worldwide shipping. With each new season, the website presents the collections of more than 600 established designers and young emerging talents.

About Zenith: Official Timekeeper and Founding Partner


Zenith exists to inspire individuals to pursue their dreams and make them come true – against all odds. Since its establishment in 1865, Zenith became the first watch manufacture in the modern sense of the term, and its watches have accompanied extraordinary figures that dreamt big and strived to achieve the impossible – from Louis Blériot’s history-making flight across the English Channel to Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting stratospheric free-fall jump. Zenith is also highlighting visionary and trailblazing women – past and present – by celebrating their accomplishments and creating in 2020 its first-ever collection dedicated entirely to them, Defy Midnight.

With innovation as its guiding star, Zenith features exceptional in-house developed and manufactured movements in all its watches. Since the creation of the El Primero in 1969, the world’s first automatic chronograph calibre, Zenith has gone on to master fractions of the second with the Chronomaster Sport and its 1/10th of a second precision and the DEFY 21 with a precision of 1/100th of a second. Zenith has been shaping the future of Swiss watchmaking since 1865, accompanying those who dare to challenge themselves and break barriers. The time to reach your star is now.

About Allianz: Founding Partner and Official Insurance Partner

The Allianz Group is one of the world’s leading insurers and asset managers with more than 100 million private and corporate customers in more than 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 790 billion euros on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage 1.7 trillion euros of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are amongst the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2020, over 150,000 employees achieved total revenues of 140 billion euros and an operating profit of 10.8 billion euros for the group.

About Neat Burger: Official Plant-based Partner

Neat Burger is the first of its kind – the planet-friendly, plant-based, full-flavoured game-changer the world has been waiting for. The world’s first plant-based sustainable burger chain, Neat Burger offers a menu that appeals to not only those who follow plant-based diets, but anyone, meat-eaters included, who wants to eat delicious meat-free dishes that are more sustainable, healthier and ethical. The brand is backed by seven-time FIA Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, in collaboration with hospitality organisation The Cream Group and investors, as well as UNICEF Ambassador and early backer of Beyond Meat Tommaso Chiabra. Neat Burger opened its first site in September 2019, just off Regent Street in London, and its second and third dine-in outlets at Camden Market and Soho in 2020. Plans for global expansion across Europe, the US and Middle East are already in place for 2021 and beyond.

About EY: Official Innovation Partner

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, strategy, transaction and consulting services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via ey.com/privacy. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About INTERprotección: Official Insurance Broker

INTERprotección is composed of a group of Mexican insurance, reinsurance and surety bond brokerage companies. With global presence and recognition, INTERprotección has more than 40 years of experience in management and comprehensive risk consulting in the Mexican market. Its business model is focused on bringing the client to the forefront and offering them the best service through innovative and disruptive products, more recently with its new brand inter.mx, its insurance digital platform that is transforming the insurtech game. Follow INTERprotección on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter @INTERproteccion

About Enel X:

Enel X is Enel Group’s global business line offering services that accelerate innovation and drive the energy transition. A global leader in the advanced energy solution sector, Enel X manages services such as demand response for around 6 GW of total capacity at global level and around 100 MW of storage capacity installed worldwide, as well as 195,000 electric vehicle charging points made available around the globe. Through its advanced solutions, including energy management, financial services and electric mobility, Enel X provides each partner with an intuitive, personalized ecosystem of tech platforms and consulting services, focusing on sustainability and circular economy principles in order to provide people, communities, institutions and companies with an alternative model that respects the environment and integrates technological innovation into daily life. Each solution has the power to turn decarbonization, electrification and digitalization goals into sustainable actions for everyone, in order to build a more sustainable and efficient world together.

Find out more on https://corporate.enelx.com/en and follow Enel X on its social media channels:

LinkedIn: @EnelX

Twitter: @EnelXGlobal

Facebook: @enelxglobal

Instagram: @enelxglobal


XITE ENERGY was founded by Oliver Bennett and Megan Jones straight out of university two years ago. XITE brings disruptive innovation within the beverage industry; a new frontier to energy drinks. Designed around functionality but with no limitations on health, XITE ENERGY uses functional ingredients that are fused together to provide a cognitive boost, combining natural flavours, natural caffeine and zero sugar.