Sustainability challenges by land, sea and air

“Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success.”


This odd job offer, published in The Times by the Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton in 1907, attracted the interest of 5,000 candidates. What could possibly have convinced anyone to want to join a project of that kind? Little prospect of an economic return, the very worst of conditions, a venture more than likely ending in death… No, what attracted these 5,000 men to apply for the job was the challenge of overcoming adversity, the limitations of self, the remote possibility of leaving an indelible footprint on history, a legacy to be proud of, enduring years, decades, centuries even.

Although Shackleton failed to reach the South Pole, his expeditions served as the fieldwork for the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, to go on four years later and colonize one of the last unconquered territories on the planet, in an epic and heroic race against the Brit, Robert Falcon Scott.

A century later, the world has changed almost beyond recognition. There are no territories left to discover. Science has progressed to reduce the risk of such missions considerably. Yet the spirit of adventure, the passion to overcome challenges and the fascination for achieving historic milestones continue undiminished and full of derring-do.

It is this determination that drives ACCIONA on, to want to conquer one of the few horizons still left to discover: the future. Primed with the spirit of adventure, we have set our course over land, sea and air.

ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered: a fuel-free milestone

Electric vehicles are seen as the transport of the future. Many companies are innovating in this field in order to achieve sustainable mobility and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but ACCIONA decided to go a step further and show that not only can we aspire to sustainability on a daily basis, but also in the most competitive forms of racing. ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, a zero-emission vehicle that became the first electric car to take part in the Dakar Rally in 2015, was borne out of this desire to overcome the challenge. The Dakar is the most demanding rally in the world. Later in the year, the ACCIONA car returned to action setting a new milestone by becoming the first such vehicle to complete the Morocco Rally world championship trial.

Roll on January 2016 and ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered was in South America participating in the Dakar once more, improving its 2015 performance by completing over 80% of the race. The intense difficulty of competing in this arduous race tested ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered and its co-drivers Ariel Jatón y Gastón Scazzuso to the full. They were up against extreme heat and inhospitable and dangerous terrain. But they achieved their goal, flying the flag of sustainability and renewable energy.

ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered: Vendée Globe

Across the ocean, another quite different competitor, carrying ACCIONA’s mark of sustainability, led the way in an extreme sport. In this case, the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered is a zero-emission sailboat propelled purely by the force of the wind. It is also equipped with solar panels, wind hydro turbines to power an auxiliary generator. In 2012, the vessel took part in the toughest regatta there is, the Vendée Globe, the only non-stop, solo race around the world without assistance. Held every four years, navigators must rely on their sailing expertise and spirit of adventure to travel thousands of miles around the globe on a journey that can last anything from 75 to 160 days.

ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered skipper, Javier Sansó, was the first IMOCA class sailor to take on this most difficult of challenges with no resources other than his renowned sailing skills and the power of clean energy.

ACCIONA 100% WindPowered Antarctica

A century after Amundsen, the ACCIONA 100% WindPowered Antarctica expedition arrived at the South Pole. Like the Norwegian history-maker, the team led by Ramón Larramendi is a pioneer – by becoming the first zero-emission expedition to reach the southernmost point on the planet.

For 19 days, 80 square meters of kites alone drew the 100% eco-efficient sled through 2,200 km of extreme conditions to the coldest part of the Earth, where temperatures can dip to a cool -93 °C. The sleighs successfully transported the four explorers, and all the material they needed for their scientific mission, to their destination, also proving on the way the best method for supplying the Antarctic bases without polluting the environment.

Like those 5,000 intrepid candidates who wanted to enroll on the dangerous Shackleton expedition a century before, ACCIONA continues the tradition of challenging adversity, in the quest for a sustainable future. By land, sea and air.

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