With the necessary switch to green energy, “soft” transport is becoming popular once again. In the shipping industry, for example, we are seeing a gradual return to sail-powered transport. The Nantes company Neoline has developed an innovative ship, the Neoliner, and the first of them will be built at Saint-Nazaire. This sailing ship will have the unusual feature of two masts arranged on the same axis (duplex rigging), which improves its performance, supported by auxiliary propulsion mixing diesel and electric energy. 136 metres long, it can sail at speeds of up to 13 knots (about 24 km/h) carrying a crew of 15 and 12 passengers with remarkable energy efficiency. In fact, the Neoliner can reduce emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases by up to 90%.
The digital boom
Virtual reality serving industry
Thanks to its top-level industrial businesses, the economic fabric of Saint-Nazaire is going fully digital. The STX shipyard and Airbus depend on innovation and particularly on virtual reality. The CIRV – Industrial Virtual Reality Centre – is a leading European laboratory devoted to uses of virtual reality. Forming part of the Smart Factory Technocampus and linked to the Jules-Verne Technology Research Institute, virtual reality is used to serve area’s industries and businesses: start-ups, SMEs, service providers and training bodies.
Coworking and digital campus
The strength of the digital industry in Saint-Nazaire also includes numerous start-ups. Every year new businesses are founded in the coworking spaces (Periscop, Office Coffee, Carré Coworking, etc.), particularly in the digital sector. In an attempt to nurture this energy, local or regional training stakeholders – IUT de Saint-Nazaire, CESI, CNAM, Lycée Aristide Briand – are announcing schemes to develop new digital courses. And a digital campus bringing together Fab Lab, coworking spaces, business nurseries and training establishments will be set up in Saint-Nazaire town centre by 2020.
Digital: highlights in Saint-Nazaire
Robot competition. 14- and 15-year-old pupils supervised by 16- and 17-year-olds learn to programme a robot throughout the school year. That is the idea of a competition launched by the IBM Sponsorship Division and supported by the Saint-Nazaire District Council.
Digital Week. In September 2017 the famous Nantes Digital Week once again found a successor in Saint-Nazaire to take up the baton: 100 events and more than 8,000 participants!
Fab Lab. Saint-Nazaire will soon have its own digital manufacturing workshop, open to everyone. A project launched by four Audacity award winners, this competition rewards promising talent from the local economy.
Plug IN: a current flowing between digital and industry
Soirée Plug In au Garage de Saint-Nazaire en 2017.
Begun during Digital Week 2016, Plug IN promotes cooperation between industrial and digital businesses in the area. After a day of networking, six industrial businesses, (Airbus Nantes, Daher, ESPACE, ABF, Chicago Pneumatic /Desoutter and Stelia Aerospace) selected six digital stakeholders they want to work with: Abisse, E-cobot, Gobio Robot, Obexto, Productys and We Craft Apps. These start-ups now have the chance to identify new openings. Meanwhile, the industrial firms can source local creativity: a win-win situation.
Driving research and training