September 30, 2022

BAE Systems challenges Scottish youth to lower carbon footprint at Glasgow shipyard

Glasgow, BAE Systems has joined with Fuel Change, a unique platform for the next generation to create a low carbon future, to challenge young people from across Scotland to use their skills and ingenuity to help lower the carbon footprint of its shipyards in Glasgow. 

Its Naval Ships business has a long and proud history of shipbuilding in Glasgow, and as a result some of the buildings at the Govan and Scotstoun sites are now over 100 years old. That’s why, as part of Fuel Change Challenge 2, BAE Systems is asking teams of apprentices from companies across Scotland to develop innovative yet practical ways to upgrade our buildings in order to lower their carbon footprint and benefit our local communities in Govan and Scotstoun. 

BAE Systems recently announced the target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its operations by 2030 and across the value chain by 2050, and has already begun reducing emissions at its sites across the UK through the use of solar panels and other renewable energy sources. More efficient, cutting-edge manufacturing technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence are also being used to improve operational efficiency while reducing carbon emissions. 

Last month, the company joined the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign, by signing up to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C which commits businesses to set targets aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming. In order to achieve these goals, BAE Systems is investing in low to zero energy carbon products and renewable energy solutions, supporting supply chains to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pioneering new technology to help customers move towards net zero. 

Apprentices can bring diverse and creative solutions to complex problems, and this challenge will provide them with an opportunity to use their skills and ideas for meaningful change in a year which will see Glasgow hosting COP26. The Fuel Change Challenge was launched last year, and the main aim of the project is to hit the target of a low carbon Scotland and create real and deliverable environmental solutions, which can not only be implemented by partner companies, both nationally and potentially internationally and make a real difference to climate change. 

Eight BAE Systems apprentices took part in the challenge, developing a novel proposal, which would recycle decommissioned aircraft into miniature vertical wind turbines, reducing waste and providing clean energy. 

With support from the Company the team are turning their proposal into reality, designing two prototype turbines which will then be produced and tested at the Scotstoun and Govan sites. 

“We’d like the teams to think creatively and consider other energy sources that could be used such as opportunities for renewable power from the river. We want them to challenge us with new ideas and innovations that we should be considering,” said Sharon Young, Head of Environmental Sustainability, BAE Systems Naval Ships.

Ellis Folan, a BAE Systems Project Management apprentice who was part of the team, said: “The Fuel Change Challenge has been a really worthwhile experience to be a part of. It gave me the chance to co-lead a project that I really believe could make a big difference for our future, helping the Company and country take a step closer to reaching our net zero target. 

“The Company is absolutely committed to tackling climate change and we have some hugely talented and innovative people that can help create a sustainable future for our communities. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to make a contribution in the last Fuel Change Challenge and I look forward to seeing what this year’s teams produce!” 

Speaking on the occasion Sharon Young, Head of Environmental Sustainability at BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: “Historically, shipbuilding would not have been considered the most environmentally sustainable of industries but we recognise that we need to play our part in tackling the threat from climate change. We’re making changes and investing in new technologies to ensure our products and facilities can help us and our customers move towards net zero. “We’d like the teams to think creatively and consider other energy sources that could be used such as opportunities for renewable power from the river. We want them to challenge us with new ideas and innovations that we should be considering.”

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