Innovation Process

A culture of innovation in service of sustainable development

Within Chantiers de l’Atlantique, innovation is considered as an essential requirement for long-term growth.

The products and services offered enable the yard clients to combine profitable growth and sustainable development with efficiency. The company is in a leading position of competitiveness clusters aiming to stimulate research and development activities (R&D) in domains such as shipbuilding or marine energy at regional scale, while creating new industrial branches.

Chantiers de l’Atlantique is active at both national and European level. It brings significant input to various work groups defining the priorities of the shipbuilding and marine energy industry in terms of R&D.

Discover our process for sustainable development Discover our process for sustainable development

An Active Player in
Research and Development

The aim of this active position in R&D is to offer smart solutions and products in order to generate more sustainability and efficiency. There are many examples illustrating the involvement of Chantiers de l’Atlantique in the R&D field at both national and European levels:

  • Competitiveness clusters: Chantiers de l’Atlantique is an active member of the competitiveness clusters Mer Bretagne Atlantique (Atlantic sea Britanny) in Brest and EMC2 in Nantes. As a member of these clusters, they lead collaborative R&D projects involving local small and medium companies as well as regional research labs. These projects were backed up by the region Pays de la Loire and in direct relation with sustainable development.
  • Projects ADEME (Agence de la transition écologique – Ecological Transition Agency): Back in 2019, ADEME supported major R&D projects in the frame of various calls for projects, such as Ship of the Future, Vehicles and Transportation of the Future and Development of High-Performance and Innovative Ecosystems.
  • WEAMEC Network (West Atlantic Marine Energy Center): This network gathers actors of the Renewable Marine Energy industry engaged in research, training and innovation. Chantiers de l’Atlantique intervenes in training sessions organised by the WEAMEC network but also supports and provides its expertise to various projects:
  • Chantiers de l’Atlantique, founding member of the Jules Verne IRT (Institut de Recherche Technologique – Technological Research Institute): Dedicated to advanced technologies for the manufacture of composite, metallic and hybrid structures, the IRT aims to become a world class technological innovation campus within ten years. It gathers manufacturers, training facilities, private and public research laboratories, industrial prototyping and demonstrating facilities in one main site near Nantes and additional ones in Le Mans and Saint-Nazaire. We share the same ambition: intensify the “industry – research – training” dynamic in order to prompt technological leaps, profitable competitiveness and durability for French companies and industries.

Atlantique +

A range of innovative services, solutions and systems resulting from R&D in the fields of energy and environmental issues, operational management and passenger experience.

Discover Atlantique +

From the R&D stage
to industrial development

In 2022, by installing one of the highest composite masts of the world on its industrial site, towering 95 m above the ground (311 feet), Chantiers de l’Atlantique will take another step towards the Solid Sail/Aeoldrive solution industrial development.

This will be the final technical validation step before the solution commercialization and application on large ships. This solution was developed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in the frame of its R&D program started in 2008, Ecorizon. This program is dedicated to enhance the large ships’ energetic effectiveness and environmental impact. It aims to develop “zero emission” ships which comply with the regulations of the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal (carbon neutrality objective in Europe) by 2050.

The first commercial application for the Solid Sail/AeolDrive solution is destined to 200 m (655 ft) long cruise ships designing and manufacturing. These ships will use both a sailing propulsion and engines, thus reducing greenhouse gas emission by more than 50%. Other applications, including some with regards to cargo ships and large pleasure boats, are considered.

The Solid Sail/AeolDrive solution is the fulfillment of a cooperative work between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and its industrial partners. They are from Britany (Multiplast, AvelRobotics, SMM Technologies, CDK Technologies, Lorima, G SEA Design, Blew Stoub, Ocean Data System, Pixel Sur Mer and Awentech) for the mast and the sail, and from Pays de la Loire (MECA, Wichard, Nov-BLM, Lancelin, Baudin Chateauneuf and PL Marine) for the fitting equipment. With the support of the regions Brittany and Pays de la Loire and of the local authority of Lorient and Vannes, genuine technological and industrial sectors sprouted around this innovative concept.

Because of the sheer size of Silenseas®, its sails can only be of gigantic dimensions. No sails currently on the market can match the need of Silenseas®. Our R&D teams were entitled with the challenge to design an easy-to-use, reliable, sturdy, high-performance sails to be installed on an automated rigging, all of it despite its dimension.  This challenge gave birth to Solid Sail, an innovative design of sail made of articulated panels of composite materials, installed on an automated balestron rig. This rigging can rotate and tilt so that the ship can move below bridges.

This project was shown for the first time in 2018 and developed drastically since then. Solid Sail will be presented on-site at Chantiers de l’Atlantique during the first semester of 2022 as a full-scale demonstrator. This demonstrator will be used on many trials in order to validate the technical solution prior to Solid Sail’s industrialization.

Focus on

Silenseas, the cruise ship of the future

Discover the project
85 m (93 yd)

Height of the mast:

1,200 m² (1,435 yd2)

Sail surface area:

360° rotation and 70° tilting


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