Fuel Change Challenge’ races into Sprint 2

Scottish Modern Apprentices working on the Fuel Change Challenge have raced into Sprint 2 in an effort to develop innovative low carbon solutions to real issues currently being faced by industry.

Launched on Monday 7 September, the Fuel Change Challenge initially encouraged  Modern Apprentices (MAs) to tackle real carbon challenges set by a range of industry partners from the private sector. And then in October, Foundation Apprentices (FAs) were invited to join in them on the project.

Around 200 MAs in 38 teams began the search for their ideal solutions and this has now been whittled down to 160 MAs in 28 teams who have been given the green light to use their their creativity and ingenuity to help tackle climate change working through a series of Sprints, representing the quality control stages of the initiative.

The Fuel Change Challenge has proved to be so successful that organisers are already keen for teams of MAs and FAs and their employers – from all industries across Scotland not just construction and engineering – to register their interest for next year’s challenge. Register your interest at www.fuelchange.co.uk

The aim of the project is to hit the target of a low carbon Scotland and create real, practical solutions which can not only be implemented by the partner companies, but potentially be implemented across the world and make a real difference to climate change.

Five major companies initially supported the initiative including: Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), BAM Nuttall, Scottish Power Energy Networks, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), and Spirit Aerosystems and all have submitted challenges to work on.

These include: ADL’s challenge to model and design a low carbon electric bus depot for a mid-size Scottish town, BAM Nuttall’s challenge to pioneer sustainable practices and materials in the construction industry; NMIS’ using Digital Twins – a replication of real world processes – to help manufacturing facilities to reduce their carbon footprint; SP Energy Networks’ challenge to develop a plan to make a mixed use site energy neutral and net zero; Spirit Aerosystems’ task proposal to increase the reusability of end-of-life aircraft; and an oil and gas challenge asking MAs to come up with practical suggestions they could present to the heads of the industry, to help it reach net zero carbon emissions.

After Sprint 1 the teams were asked only to come back with their selected challenge from the six offered. However a number went so much further, already starting to develop eye-catching ideas as we head into Sprint 2. These included creating a decommissioning yard for aircraft at Prestwick Airport – which suggested a series of innovative new businesses generated from materials recovered and using digital twinning to identify means to reduce energy in manufacturing plants. It would also create energy surplus from local innovative generators, to feed back into the grid.

Challenges are focused around barriers to a low carbon economy or opportunities to create a product or service, which could develop a low carbon market offering.

Apprentices will bring a unique practical perspective to solutions, different to many other innovation challenges before, and expert insight into the operations and processes of an organisation and how their ideas could be applied in the real world.

The initiative is being funded by the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland and is being widely backed by Scottish Colleges with four ‘hub’ colleges driving participation and encouraging their partner employers and apprentices to get involved; Forth Valley College, North East Scotland College, Fife College and Ayrshire College.