Young people present their solutions to climate change at Net Zero Challenge Showcase

Source: press release, 21 October 2021

Jennifer Tempany, Fuel Change director, and Gareth Raymond, business director at INEOS FPS, with participants in the Grangemouth Net Zero Challenge
Jennifer Tempany, Fuel Change director, and Gareth Raymond, business director at INEOS FPS, with participants in the Grangemouth Net Zero Challenge (photo: Fuel Change)

Ground-breaking solutions to climate change were presented by 16 to 24-year-olds at the final of a Net Zero challenge supported by INEOS and the Scottish Government. The teams of young people from across Scotland have been working on developing fresh and creative ideas and concepts as part of Fuel Change’s Grangemouth Net Zero Challenge since the start of July.

The real-life challenges were devised by INEOS in consultation with the Scottish Government, covering sustainable manufacturing, heat energy, plastics and carbon capture and utilisation. 120 participants took part in the challenge and a number of representatives gathered at the final event, hosted by Forth Valley College, to showcase their ideas.

Young employees from Balfour Beatty, Bilfinger, bp, Booth Welsh, Falkirk Council, Forth Ports, Fujifilm, INEOS FPS and INEOS O&P UK, Petroineos Refinery, Stantec UK and the University of Stirling have taken part in the challenge over the past 4 months.

The project is being run by Fuel Change, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to empower young people to create a carbon neutral future for the next generation. The organisation is fast gaining traction among government, industry and the education sector, with the ambition to eventually become a global platform that galvanises young people into taking meaningful action to address climate change, protecting the planet for their future.

Among the participants was Robert Mitchelmore from Forth Ports, who says, “I decided to take on the Fuel Change challenge as it was a really good opportunity to see what ideas me and my team could come up with in our industry.”

“As a port, we have a lot of heavy goods vehicle movement, and we identified this a potential source of energy that we could utilise. Through doing more research we realised that traffic turbines could be the solution for this. It’s been really good to work with other people my own age and do something completely different to my day job,” continues Mitchelmore.

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

David Reid, chief executive and co-founder of Fuel Change, says, “We have been amazed by the high standard and fantastic ideas the teams have come up with to tackle some complex and challenging issues, and we are looking forward to hearing more about the thought process and solutions the young people have developed. We are pleased to have partnered with INEOS and the Scottish Government for the latest in a series of challenges, which bring together teams from across Scotland and representing a wide range of industries.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the teams to not only help meet Scotland’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2045, but to make a real difference to the climate crisis and have a meaningful platform to make their voices heard,” Reid adds.

Last month, INEOS announced GBP 1 billion of investment in its Grangemouth site, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2045 and building on a 37% reduction in net CO2 emissions already delivered since it acquired the site in 2005. The company has already committed more than GBP 500 million on projects which are currently being implemented, including a New Energy Plant, which is due for completion in late 2023 and will supply energy to all site operations. In addition, INEOS has plans that include a move to the production and use of hydrogen by all businesses at the Grangemouth site.

Gareth Raymond, business director at INEOS FPS, says, “It’s been a real privilege to be involved in this Grangemouth Net Zero Challenge project from the outset. It has been so pleasing to see how the bright minds of young people from a variety of businesses are willing to give some very clever and creative input to INEOS to help shape and guide our Roadmap to Net Zero.”

“This ‘Net-Zero Generation’, as we call it, has a shared ambition to create real change, and to rise to the challenge of climate change. What has been great to see is how the teams’ initial uncertainty has been overtaken by enthusiasm, their curiosity has fuelled discovery, and their collective and ambitious creativity has sparked some fantastic ideas. Fuel Change is not just a project that INEOS has supported, but a journey to Net Zero that we are sharing, and will continue to share,” says Raymond.

Net Zero and energy secretary Michael Matheson says, “The Climate Change challenge is complex and can at times be daunting and overwhelming. Our just transition to net zero must be a collective effort and the best solutions will be arrived at through us all working together in collaboration.”

Matheson continues, “This is why the Grangemouth Net Zero challenge initiative has been so inspiring. It has empowered young people to push themselves to understand some of these challenges and to think about creative solutions for us all. I am grateful to everyone who took part in the challenge and look forward to these exciting solutions continuing to be supported, developed and advanced in the months and years ahead.”

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.

Fuel Change’s main aim is to help hit the target of a low-carbon Scotland by 2045 and create real solutions, which can be implemented by its partner companies in Scotland and potentially across the world. Fuel Change also runs an education programme in schools, which is focusing on introducing the issue of climate change and “carbon literacy” into every subject on the curriculum.