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  • Writer's pictureCamille Lopez

Sophia Mag, technopolis magazine and the eco valley

Updated: May 25, 2023

The story of the little girl who discovers the fragility of the marine world on board the family's pointu.

Sophia Mag's wrote an article about HY-Plug and its history, written by Antoine Guy.

Here Camille confides the beginning of HY-Plug as well as the passions which animate her daily.

Thanks for this article !

"Camille Lopez, 25 years old from Six-Fournaise (Var), team manager and mechanic in the world of karting, high level rider, shows an appetite for personal challenges where the fuel is called "surpassing oneself" and the oxidizer "pragmatism", claims a climatic preoccupation and commits herself for the preservation of the biosphere. This enumeration highlights a chromosomal red thread: her DNA contains the gene of governance. She knows how to hold the steering wheel, the reins, and her future. Camille belongs to the category of those who choose a destination and give themselves the means to reach it. In 2021, she created HY-Plug, a maritime player in the energy transition.

The story begins on the Mediterranean where the little girl, aboard the family dinghy, realizes the fragility of the marine environment, while measuring herself against the realities of navigation, the jolts of a capricious engine, the marine equations with multiple constraints: winds, currents, signaling... the oceanic mechanics, not always fluid, remains an art that requires anticipation, adaptation, initiative, so many qualities stuffed in the haversack of the future business leader. "I come from a commercial background but I'm passionate about everything that has a motor", she declares with an innate sense of punchline. She began her career with a car manufacturer, then obtained a Master's degree in international management at the IUM1. Camille is now on the starting line, and even in pole position.

An environmental awareness

The IUM offered her the opportunity to compete in the "Mark Challenge", a competition between "business plan holders combining luxury and innovation". Her intuition tells her to go and investigate the yachting ecosystem. She discovers how all these actors, unfortunately for them but fortunately for her, remain too tightly sealed. The idea of HY-Plug will germinate in this well-made head. Motorized yachting drags in its wake an image as heavy as diesel on the big blue, carbon footprint, marine pollution and old world practices, the one before the Kyoto protocol.

Shipyards, engine manufacturers, biofuel and hydrogen suppliers

port officials and buyers are struggling to collaborate. Yet the environmental emergency to change their practices on a daily basis, as in the aeronautics and hydrogen to change their practices, as in the aeronautics and automotive industries, and to make a virtuous transition towards cleanliness, sobriety and sobriety and decarbonization. "Based on this observation, I created HY-Plug, which won the Yachting Special Award and the Sustainability Special Award at the Mark Challenge 2021. Then HY-Plug won the Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge 2021 in the student category, and finally we joined the cross-border acceleration program Marittimo Tech+ organized by the CCIs of the South-East, Corsica and Italy", says Camille, delighted by these encouraging awards.

Shaking up the lines and practices

HY-Plug is composed of "HY" for "hydrogen / electricity" and "plug" for "socket", a nice double metaphor that connects the ship to a refueling station as well as the yachting actors between them. The company defines itself as a specialist in maritime energy transition to enable the industry to "plug in" to a body of knowledge, recommendations and the adoption of new practices. "It is about accompanying a yacht owner in his project to switch to hybrid, biofuel, hydrogen. There are many options, depending on autonomy needs, regulations, to intelligently reduce the environmental impact of the yacht, the environmental impact of a ship," she says. She relies on her automotive experience in kart racing and on expert service providers in these fields. HY-Plug's ambition is to become the reference consulting company in a market that is still somewhat dormant, and which, like Sleeping Beauty, is only waiting to wake up. Prince Charming, especially if his name is Camille Lopez, has a very good chance of succeeding! The fact remains that port authorities are reluctant to invest in new energy supply infrastructures, arguing that there is not yet sufficient demand on the yacht side, while ship owners are reluctant to modify their engines for fear of not finding the right equipment on the quayside. To avoid a "chicken or the egg" impasse, HY-Plug is offering a 3-hour training course in English, called the "Sustainability Class". "Sustainability Class", in collaboration with the Yacht Club of Monaco, which covers four topics: the advantages and disadvantages of the various alternative energies, the same for technologies, the state of the art of the regulations and finally a summary of the concept of sustainability through the prism of the value chain that extends from production to use. Today, HY-Plug has already signed three clients, proof of the relevance of the business plan.

Economy and ecology can go hand in hand

Two pitfalls have been identified and Camille does not want to get caught up in them: "Greenwashing". "Switching to hydrogen on a yacht is great, but then buying grey hydrogen without considering the evolution towards a green energy makes no sense. I don't want to contribute to greenwashing," warns Camille, aware of the issues. "We must give ourselves time to initiate and carry out this transition. This necessarily involves partially good solutions but it's a necessary step to become more virtuous", she underlines. Secondly, to guarantee its neutrality to remain credible. HY-Plug does not want to be associated with a specific technology provider and can therefore independently recommend the right transition vectors. A reassuring approach for owners. Between digital marketing, sales, engineering, international expansion projects, but also on weekends, riding and karting competitions, Camille's weeks are very busy. She admits to "preserving her nine hours of sleep and optimizing the use of her time in her travels so as not to waste this essential resource". With her partner, she is even working on a prototype of a hydrogen powered kart. For someone specialized in energy sobriety, the least we can say is that she spends her personal energy without counting the cost to advance the environmental cause and... her company."

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