70.8: Brest showcases Brittany’s maritime excellence sectors

A new space dedicated to maritime technologies and innovations opened on May 28, 2021 in Brest, in the Capucins workshops. This vast cultural space served by the first urban cable car in France resonated until the early 2000s with the crash of military naval constructions and was prohibited to the public. Today, the “place des machines”, in the center of the building, is the largest covered hall in Europe with a surface area of ​​10,000 m2. Since early 2020, this huge sheltered public square has hosted Napoleon’s imperial canoe on display until then at the Musée de la Marine in Paris. It is precisely behind this unique piece that the new 70.8 space opens. A name that is intriguing at first, but simply refers to the surface of the Earth covered by the oceans, that is to say 70.8%. “It is a place that showcases the emerging sectors of the maritime domain on the scale of Brittany”, indicates Céline Liret, scientific director of Océanopolis and curator of this new place. No room for the past here. The content is resolutely turned towards current events and future projects.

A nod to the history of the place

Space of 900 m2 is cut by two concrete keels that evoke that of an aircraft carrier. A nod to the history of the place where key parts of the aircraft carrier were manufactured Clemenceau (1957) and the nuclear powered aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle (1987-1994). These bowling pins support two upper “bridges” where the museum trail continues, which addresses six themes: marine biotechnologies, deep sea exploration, renewable marine energies, the study of the ocean to better understand it, traffic. maritime, ships of the future and shipbuilding.

© Océanopolis, G. Bescond, K. Quemere

Blue biotechnologies are indeed booming in Brittany, the ocean concealing a treasure of molecules to be discovered. A common marine worm, the lugworm, thus enabled biologist Franck Zal to discover the formula of “universal hemoglobin”, compatible with all blood groups. Let us also quote the “can of the future” developed by chef Thierry Marx and physico-chemist Raphaël Haumont based on algae. The next few years will undoubtedly see an intensification of the exploration and exploitation of the deep sea, rich in mineral, gas and oil resources, where the cables through which pass 95% of the world’s telecommunications data are also unrolled. A highly strategic theater! Like the 2,730 kilometers of Brittany coast which will host large fields of wind turbines, tidal turbines and other energy solutions tomorrow.

A showcase for the general public of Breton maritime excellence

To prepare for these future developments, it is best to first know the ocean. It is this theme that occupies the first “bridge”, where all the technological means of oceanography are deployed: ships, satellites, buoys, acoustic sensors, gliders, etc. Finally, the second bridge is concerned with maritime traffic and naval innovations. Today, 90% of international merchandise traffic is carried by sea. Questions of maritime safety, prevention of pollution at sea or even cybersecurity are therefore crucial. As is the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport, which promises the return of sailing – a futuristic version.

© Océanopolis, G. Bescond, K. Quemere

This showcase for the general public of Breton maritime excellence was designed with the help of 110 national, regional or local structures (grandes écoles, research centers, networks of actors, large companies). It completes the maritime museum offer of this city open to the ocean, alongside Océanopolis – which shows biodiversity and marine ecosystems -, the National Maritime Museum and the future National Center for Lighthouses and Beacons. .

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