By TBY | UAE | Feb 02, 2023
With the intention of helping the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in their energy transition, Shell has supported several programs to encourage young people to develop sustainable solutions to move towards a green economy.
Shell’s focus on youth for sustainability is a key part of its global operations, but particularly in the Middle East. In this region of the world the oil giant has partnered with organizations such as INJAZ Al-Araba, with which it organizes the Youth for Sustainability Awards in which university or high school students participate in a competition to compete in solving sustainability-related problems. The 2022 edition, in which they were mentored by experts from Shell, focused on a campaign on how to turn food waste into energy, as well as on energy storage solutions.
Such activities play a key role in driving the energy transformation taking place in the Middle East. And, in this sense, Shell is a player that fits perfectly into this objective as a company that throughout its more than 100 years of history has always had its sights set on innovation as a lever to move forward into the future. For this reason, organizations such as INJAZ Al-Araba, a member of the non-profit business education organization, Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide, has chosen this multinational to collaborate in the 2022 edition of the awards that will train the young people who will lead the Middle East in the future.
Another program in which Shell participates in the training of young people in this region of the world is through Shell NXplorers. This is an innovative educational program that seeks to introduce young people to complex thought processes to bring about positive change through creativity in order to find solutions to some of the biggest global challenges. Launched in 2018 in Gulf Cooperation Council member countries, this program focuses on education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with the intention of driving the development of a knowledge-based economy through sustainability.
In the Gulf, the UAE was the first place to launch Shell NXplorers, followed by Qatar and Oman to introduce science-based thinking to create sustainable solutions to problems such as how the GCC can transition to a circular economy to achieve net zero carbon emissions. In the UAE, the program is run in cooperation with INJAZ for 300 Shell employees to mentor more than 3,000 students since it was launched five years ago. In this case, the program’s sustainability projects revolved around the water-food-energy axis.
It is another initiative in line with the objectives of the Youth for Sustainability Awards to create in the GCC a new generation of scientists, engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs for these countries to meet their energy transformation goals. In the case of the year 2021, with the celebration of Expo 2020, Shell NXplorers launched a competition called “Youth for Sustainability Competition” in which a team of 15 people will join the objectives of the Youth for Sustainability Awards to create a new generation of scientists, engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs for these countries to meet their energy transformation goals. In the case of 2021, with the celebration of Expo 2020, NXplorers launched a competition called “Youth for Sustainability Competition” in which a team of 15 students set out to work hard to develop solutions in two key sustainability goals such as food security and sustainable energy and decarbonization.
As part of this program, participants had the opportunity to exhibit their projects at Expo 2020 (October 2021-March 2022) to present their solutions to challenges such as finding a process to improve the recycling of food waste, as its decomposition emits methane gas that is more harmful to the atmosphere than CO2. Through their innovative projects, one group designed solutions to process food waste from restaurants into a low-carbon fuel that can then be used for food preparation and cooking in the same restaurant.
Another group demonstrated how food waste can be simply transformed into sustainable aviation fuel, while a third team developed an application linked to a composting plant. In the “Youth for Sustainability Competition,” a second challenge was related to renewable energy storage, a key part of this green industry because energy needs to be captured so that it is available when needed.
The finalists had the opportunity to showcase their work at Expo 2020 in Dubai between February 28 and March 2, 2022, sharing their innovations with the world. This will also increase the participants’ chances of finding potential investors and turning their idea into real-life projects. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held on March 2 in the presence of officials, partners and mentors.
Over the past four years, the Shell NXplorers program in the UAE has witnessed increasing participation, YoY, from high schools and universities, demonstrating the value and success of the program.