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Future energy leaders

Release date: 23 October 2019

How will the next generation of energy leaders help to meet one of the world’s biggest challenges: the need for cleaner energy with fewer emissions? Eleven bright young minds tell us their ideas for transforming the energy system for the better as they gather at the One Young World conference in London

Funny, feminist and fighting for change

Farhana Muna (Australia)

Capability specialist, BP

 

Some 1 million people have seen Farhana Muna’s online videos since the first one went viral in 2014. Using her unique sense of humour, she’s gathered a huge following on social media  ̶  but it’s not all online fun and games. She’s an activist who has worked with UN Women in her home country of Bangladesh and facilitated grassroots workshops to empower women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

 

Somehow, she balances being a social media phenomenon and a working mum to a two-year-old daughter with a full-time career as a capability specialist for BP – and she heads up one of the organization’s global diversity and inclusion groups.

“I feel that BP is walking the talk by taking action on low carbon, but also investing in future talent in this space. I’m proud to work for a company that’s helping to tackle climate change and leaving the world a better place for my daughter.”

Championing carbon conversion

Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao (China)

PhD student in engineering at Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, US

 

Leading a project to  turn waste CO2 into a valuable resource has seen 27-year-old Elvis recognized in Forbes’ 2019 list of '30 under 30 fuelling a more sustainable future.' Using HI-light, a solar-thermal chemical reactor technology, Elvis is converting CO2 into renewable fuels, such as syngas or methanol.

“It is my vision for the world to see waste CO2 as a feedstock, as an opportunity, rather than a liability. Interacting with other young leaders working to push forward renewable energy research and help mitigate global climate change provides the perfect platform to achieve this.”

Going global with sustainable solar

Gurleen Kaur (India)

PhD student, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore

 

Gurleen’s doctoral research focuses on developing low-cost and high-efficiency solar cells. As a research associate for the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, she works on screening biodegradable, novel material alternatives (organic PEDOT:PSS). She is a published author and, along with her team, has given more than 20 talks at conferences and institutions detailing her research in renewable energies.

 

She is also the founder of  Solisfix, a start-up aimed at addressing insurance and maintenance issues of solar products in South East Asia.

“I believe OYW is a great place for helping to focus on a cleaner, brighter and greener side of the energy debate, and charting out plans favouring clean energy technologies under UN Sustainable Development Goal 7. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for me to take my research to a global level and maximize its impact.” 

Tolerance and transformation

Rza Aliyev (Azerbaijan)

Commercial and planning analyst, BP

 

Thirty-one-year-old Rza Aliyev currently works in planning and commercial operations for BP’s recently-formed Mauritania and Senegal team.

 

As a United Nations youth delegate, prior to joining BP, Rza worked on the resolution to combat human trafficking and the exploitation of children, and he was part of the team in Washington DC that saw his native Azerbaijan elected to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. He was also part of the Schwarzman Scholars programme in Beijing, which BP supports. 

“At OYW, I am hoping to be inspired and get a wide range of ideas on how to tackle climate change, while continuing to bring energy infrastructure to the world. Only by learning from each other, renewables continuing to play an ever-increasing role, and finding ways to constantly decrease carbon footprint will help us reach SDG7.”

Turning water into watts

Xu Liu (China)

Graduate researcher at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University

 

As part of her studies, Xu has given public presentations on the effects of pollution and first-authored two papers published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

 

She also won the Top 100 Prize in the ‘Create the Future’ Design Contest organized by NASA Tech Briefs and was named as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar in 2018.

“I have been doing research on efficient hydrogen production through water splitting, which could potentially revolutionize how hydrogen is produced. Attending the OYW Summit enables me to take science beyond the laboratory and into the public.”

Clean cooking for rural communities

Justine Abuga (Kenya)

CEO of Ecobora

 

Justine is the founder of Ecobora, a company that recycles organic waste into affordable clean cooking pellets and equips rural communities with solar-powered kiosks through which they can access green energy products. 

 

Ecobora is now focusing on introducing solar thermal technologies to schools and local factories, which are among the biggest consumers of biomass in rural Kenya. 

“The biggest challenge facing communities in need of access to clean and affordable energy is the exclusion of the very people who are supposed to benefit from it from taking part in innovation, invention and even ownership. We need to democratize clean energy access.” 

Storing in the subsurface

Joanna Reynolds (UK)

Geophysicist, BP

 

As a geophysicist, Joanna has spent most of her life studying the earth. She started her BP career working on the West of Shetland Schiehallion field, building her technical skills, and now provides geophysical analysis in support of eastern hemisphere BP exploration teams.  

 

Her love of the deep underground means she’s taken an interest in seeing how carbon sequestration  ̶  storing carbon in the subsurface  ̶  can help to meet the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. 

“Geoscientists love the earth and want minimal impact on it. One of the reasons I joined BP was because of the work it does in renewables and wanting to make a difference on that part – but there is still lots to do to speed up the transition to low carbon. We need to showcase more what BP is doing externally.”

 

Finance and the dual challenge

Siji Omoyeni (US)

Financial control, GoM accounting, reporting and control team, BP

 

Siji, who joined BP in 2016, is passionate about creating positive change. His key interest is in ending generational poverty through education and the provision of opportunities for success. To that end, he set up the JIOM foundation with the long-term goal of working with educational organizations and private investors to create scholarships that provide access to education.

 

He sees the role of finance as essential in solving the dual challenge. 

“I believe the energy industry has a key role to play in supporting and facilitating financial decisions essential to solving the dual challenge. BP is part of the solution with all the work it has made in renewables and its commitment to alternative energy and the dual challenge goals.”

Getting on the grid

Fahd Zami (Morocco)

Electrical engineer,  ONEE 

 

With Fahd overseeing a major rural electrification programme, the number of villages with access to the grid in Morocco’s Rhamna Province almost doubled to 190. Villages that could not be connected to the grid were included in a subsequent solar electrification project involving more than 2,000 solar panels, that allowed for 99.75% electricity coverage in the province.

 

His success is all driven by his passion to promote renewable energy solutions, smart grids and access to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity for all. Fahd is now taking an MBA at the University of Bath that focuses on sustainable development to improve access to electricity globally.

“I am looking forward to collaborating and connecting with young leaders from all around the world and establishing a network to help address global issues.”

Venturing to a cleaner future

Meredith Huang (China)

Supply analyst, BP

 

Meredith is an asset planner in the China retail business, which has seen the opening of the first BP-branded retail site in Jinan, Shandong Province.

 

This new site is also BP’s first in China offering fast charging for electric vehicles. In addition, Meredith’s team will be working to support the government's aim of providing cleaner ethanol-blend gasoline to consumers.

“Just as the energy transition underpinned the last technological revolution, I think it will still be key in the next. Being in the energy industry, I am excited to see how technology is going to revolutionize the way energy is provided and will contribute to SDG7.”

 

Engineering efficiency

Aldinal Rachman (Indonesia)

Project lead, project and modifications, BP

 

Aldinal joined BP in 2014 and, after several engineering roles, he’s currently the youngest construction engineer for the projects and modifications group in his native Indonesia. As part of his role, he worked on a new technology that provides remote monitoring of a critical turbine at BP's Tangguh plant, cutting both the costs and carbon footprint associated with inspections by teams based 3,000 kilometres away.

 

In 2018, Aldinal received a Certificate of Excellence from the Tallow Chandlers Company, an historic London guild that recognizes technical excellence and societal contribution. 

“It’s our planet, our future, our action. As an energy business, BP has an important role in providing affordable and clean energy. It should be embraced by all employees. In my own role as a project lead, I can contribute by working on more efficient and low carbon projects.”

The power of One

 

The annual One Young World Summit convenes the brightest young talent in every sector from around the globe, working to accelerate social impact. Delegates from 190+ countries are counselled by influential political, business and humanitarian leaders.

 

As a OYW partner, BP has been sending employee delegates from the company to take part in the summit since 2016.

 

This year, 30 BP staffers are attending to join the debate on advancing the energy transition, creating low carbon businesses, and mitigating the impact of climate change. 

 

And, for the first time, BP is joining forces with OYW to launch the BP Advancing Energy Scholarship, which funds the attendance of a further 30 young energy leaders from Bolivia to Burkina Faso.  

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