The South Pole Energy Challenge (SPEC)

Rob and his son Barney completed the first-ever expedition to the South Pole powered solely by clean energy technologies. On January 15, 2018, Robert & Barney Swan reached the South Geographic Pole. Their mission to conduct a polar expedition entirely on renewable energy was an extraordinary success. They have showed to the world that we can all live off of Renewable Energy and that the outlook for the future of this planet is brighter than ever. Over this expedition, they demonstrated and showcased cutting edge technologies robust enough to work in one of the harshest environments on earth. Using the expedition as a platform for engagement, the father and son team will continue to work with sponsors to broadcast outreach campaigns to help drive change in the way we use energy. Thank you to all our sponsors, supporters, family and friends.

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SPEC’s Out Reach Goals

To realize the ambitions of the 2016 United Nation’s Paris Agreement to hold global temperatures below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, we all need to reconsider how we utilize energy in our economies, our homes and even our own bodies. Through SPEC we aim to give companies, schools, and individuals the tools to make viable changes in the way they understand and use energy.


Measurable solutions include:

  • Install solar, wind, and/or geothermal infrastructure in home or business.
  • Modify lifestyle/ diet to reduce waste.
  • Support alternative transport technologies: hydrogen, electric, or hybrid.
  • Demand green energy from utilities.
  • Invest in clean energy.
  • Engage in local and national energy policy.
  • Advance carbon offsetting, reduction, and cleanup technologies.
In the year 2041, the fate of Antarctica will be decided. Join us for the remaining 20 years of our 50-year mission to preserve Antarctica as a natural reserve for science and peace. Learn more about how to get involved and support our mission.
Follow the Story

Thank you to all our sponsors, supporters, family and friends who have made this South Pole Energy Challenge such a great success. -SPEC Team          ...

  Our arrival at the South Pole The day was an absolute crazy one from the start and ended with such a great celebration. We started in the morning at our normal time: 7 AM wake up, 7:30 breakfast, 9:00 tent down, and then 9:30 set off on our journey with temperatures around......

  Today, on 15 January 2018, Robert and Barney Swan reached the South Pole. For Barney the journey took 56 days, 600nm and as much courage as he could muster. At just 23 years old, this was an epic journey for a young man with......

the Team of Four

Robert Swan


Robert Swan is the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. His leadership and determination made his 900 mile journey to the South Pole, the longest unassisted march in history. He was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth.

Robert is a polar explorer, a leader in energy innovation and founder of the 2041 Foundation. This story of unbelievable spirit will take you on a journey of inspiration, courage and humility. Robert committed to his dream at the age of 11, achieved it with a team after 22 years and is now, on a 50 year mission to help preserve Antarctica.


Barney Swan


Barney Swan was born in the United Kingdom, raised in tropical Far North Australia, and now lives and works in California. With degrees in Business and Multimedia, Barney co-directs 2041’s expeditions and ventures. Over the last 5 years, he has applied and trained skills in outdoor leadership, risk management, technical sailing, and project management.

He is currently preparing to walk 600 miles to the South Pole on renewable energy supplied by Shell, ZeroMass, Checkerspot, and Siemens. Using this journey as a platform for engagement, he will be working with sponsors, and partners to empower audiences with solutions, dialogues, and measurable actions plans surrounding sustainable development.


Kyle O'donoghue


Storyteller and adventurer with 15 years of experience working in harsh and remote locations. With a passion for long journeys, Kyle has completed a first kayak descent of the Rio Maranon in Peru, a 2000km journey as well as a 65-day skiing expedition to northern Canada’s Ellesmere Island.

Since 2005 he has been a member of 2041’s Inspire Antarctic Expeditions and in 2008 was part of a team which worked to get Robert Swan’s Education Bases up and running. Having filmed on all seven continents with a focus on environmental and social issues he is aware of how fragile a line we are walking in our use of the planet’s resources. When not filming he runs a remote mountain Lodge in Norway with his wife Marthe.


Martin Barnett


Originally from North Wales, Martin now lives in Colorado with his wife, Tori, and 3-month-year-old Elliot. Over the past 16 years, Martin has led expeditions all over the world, including to the top of the highest mountains on all 7 continents.

When home, he is usually found rock or ice climbing at weekends and I also enjoy mountain biking. He currently teaches courses in rope Access, Tower Climbing/Fall Protection, PPE and several other types of rescue techniques. During his time in the USA, he has volunteered as a firefighter for 3 years and spent the last 4 years volunteering in SAR Alpine Rescue Team. Safety is very important to Martin and he has a passion for protecting the landscapes he continues to share and explore.

SPEC Sponsors

Judith Neilson