The race to Net Zero is on as new Fuel Change Challenge is launched

Source: press release, 1 July 2021

The apprentices: back row from left, Adam Hunter (Forth Ports), Andrew Wilson (Petroineos), Lewis Henderson (Petroineos); front row, Olivia Reid (Falkirk Council) and Connor Currie (Balfour Beatty) (photo: Fuel Change)
The apprentices: back row from left, Adam Hunter (Forth Ports), Andrew Wilson (Petroineos), Lewis Henderson (Petroineos); front row, Olivia Reid (Falkirk Council) and Connor Currie (Balfour Beatty) (photo: Fuel Change)

A new Net Zero initiative which aims to challenge the brightest young minds from across Scotland to come up with fresh ways to tackle climate change gets underway this week.

Teams of young people aged between 16 and 24, including apprentices, will be set the “Grangemouth Net Zero Challenge”.

The challenge consists of three phases, known as sprints, and for this particular programme, which will last around 4 months, INEOS have set the challenges in consultation with the Scottish Government.

The project is being supported by INEOS, which operates from its site in Grangemouth, and Fuel Change, a not-for-profit organisation which has the core aim of developing innovative low carbon solutions to real issues currently being faced by industry and wider society, and providing a platform for young people to have their say.

The Fuel Change model has been hailed by Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy Michael Matheson as having the potential to create solutions that will have a significant impact on both the energy sector and wider industry.

Launched Thursday, 1 July, the latest round of challenges will see 18 teams, made up of apprentices and young people employed at businesses in the Grangemouth area, come together to face one of four challenges and to devise their own solutions.

Guided by experienced mentors, this next generation of employees from Balfour Beatty, Bilfinger, bp, Booth Welsh, Calachem, Falkirk Council, Forth Ports, Fujifilm, INEOS FPS and INEOS O&P UK, Petroineos Refinery, Stantec UK and the University of Stirling will have the opportunity to let their voices be heard by showcasing their solutions to industry professionals.

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy Michael Matheson says he was looking forward to seeing the ideas generated by the challenge.

“We are committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change by 2045 – and ensuring we do it in a way that is fair and just and leaves no-one behind.

“The Grangemouth Net Zero Challenge has the potential not only to develop solutions that will benefit the Grangemouth cluster but across industry and our energy sector, harnessing skills, knowledge and expertise that will be critical to supporting and developing good green jobs.

“I would like to thank Fuel Change, INEOS and all the participants for embracing the challenges and opportunities that our journey to net-zero presents and look forward to seeing how the Challenge progresses.”

Co-founder of Fuel Change, Jennifer Tempany, says, “We are absolutely delighted that INEOS and the Scottish Government have partnered with us to ‘Fuel Change’. This challenge programme brings together young people from across the breadth of industries in the Grangemouth area and is a truly unique opportunity to not only help meet Scotland’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2045, but to make a huge difference locally in our communities We can’t wait to hear the innovative solutions from the next generation.”

Supporting the area’s economic and productive capacity will put the cluster and businesses in an excellent position to capitalise commercially on the opportunities the transition to a Net Zero economy presents.

Grangemouth is recognised and identified nationally as an essential strategic site.

The industrial cluster at Grangemouth is vital to the national economy because of its central hub for manufacturing, innovation, highly skilled employment, and critical refining and petrochemical industries.

The cluster comprises a range of businesses with significant expertise in oil refining, petrochemicals engineering, ports, harbours, and multi-modal transport – road, sea and rail. The integrated infrastructure of Grangemouth is a crucial asset in helping Scotland transition to a Net Zero emissions economy by 2045.

Products made in Grangemouth, derived from petrochemicals manufacture, utilities and its transportation hub have important uses in the UK economy. The region’s highly skilled jobs and proximity to established education research and innovation providers are assets which will power the transition.

The reduction of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases is a global issue and will only be achieved with considerable changes in how people live. We will have to look at what we consume, and how what we consume is produced in a more sustainable way and how our waste is reduced, reused and recycled.

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