It has never been more important to educate students in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – as the need to become reliant on sustainable energy is now more significant than ever.
By harnessing the power of STEM disciplines, it is possible to develop critical thinking process tools that can pave the way for a more sustainable future.
“Collectively, these disciplines play a pivotal role in driving innovation and finding solutions to the pressing environmental challenges we are facing around the world, ” says Ebru Özdemir, Chairwoman at Limak Holding, a Turkish conglomerate with interests spanning construction, infrastructure, energy, and tourism.
She added: “We expect to see increasing investment in renewables and a focus on next-generation clean energy technologies with the phasing out of fossil fuels which must be prioritized. STEM learning will be integral to us moving forward collectively to secure a sustainable future.”
The past ten years have seen renewable energy sources becoming more accessible, convenient, green and cheaper, allowing for greater numbers of solar and wind farms and increased reliance on these valuable sources.
Özdemir, a champion of sustainability and advocate for the study of STEM fields, charing a company with ambitious sustainability targets, spoke last year on the topic at the World Energy Council Meeting in Ankara, Turkey, and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.
Özdemir actively encourages sustainability throughout work practices at Limak. The group of companies has embraced an international approach to sustainability by signing the United Nations Global Impact Initiative and adopting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as their roadmap to sustainability. Back in 2020, Limak set its sustainability targets and established 12 strategic objectives to be reached by 2030. These objectives range from ensuring an average of 25% efficiency in energy and 28% efficiency in water by 2026, to increasing the use of renewable energy sources to at least 30% in total energy consumption by 2030 and increasing women’s employment by 40% within the Group by 2026.
Özdemir said there are already several ways in which the power of STEM is being integrated to make sustainability more viable: “We have seen significant advancement through STEM in the renewable energy sector. She added: “It is driving solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal technologies and enabling scientists and engineers to work together to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and develop novel energy storage solutions.”
Increasing the efficiency of solar cells is making solar power more accessible, and there has also been an advance in wind turbine technology, leading to more efficient and reliable wind energy generation.
Özdemir says the energy crisis should be seen as a warning for countries to guarantee there is diversification and security of their energy supplies, with a drive towards sustainability for the future. She also points to collaboration playing a pivotal role in responding to current and future energy crises.
“Collaboration is vital to achieving climate goals. Nations must support each other to retire the highly polluting coal power plants and increase investment in renewable technologies. Wind and solar are perfect examples of using STEM to foster better and more sustainable approaches.”