A Sustainable Future Starts with Education

Monday, December 5, 2022

Education is key to advancing sustainability and innovation, especially for future generations. LYB has supported the education of students in our local communities as part of the first LyondellBasell Sustainability Research & Development (R&D) Summer School in Ferrara, Italy, and the “Meine Position ist spitze” program in Wesseling, Germany.

The LyondellBasell R&D Summer School took place in September. Twenty international students at the University of Padua pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Chemistry & Technology for Circular Economy received an opportunity to observe how innovative solutions supporting the circular economy are developed at the cutting-edge Research Center at the Ferrara site. Students engaged in an open dialogue with LyondellBasell researchers, engineers, and managers. Discussions ranged from sustainable chemistry, to technology and the circular economy, future careers in the industry, and the culture of R&D.

The program focused on LYB’s Circulen product family, which transforms plastic waste and renewable-based raw materials into innovative, high-performance products that meet the needs of different applications. These are designed to provide solutions for circularity, as well as reduce a product’s carbon footprint. The lecturers provided theories and data to show the state-of-art industrial trends. Other topics included safety culture, regulations governing the use of polymers, and the importance of intellectual property. 

Silvia Gross, professor of general chemistry at the University of Padua, expressed her gratitude that students were able to apply concepts learned in the classroom in a real industrial context. “The collaboration with LyondellBasell has been impactful to the students and to see the students embrace this hands-on experience is invaluable,” said Gross.

University of Padua student Zoe Smania said, “I think plastic is a pretty nice material and it has some great properties that you cannot find in other materials so losing these materials is not an option. We need to think about it like a luxury and try to reuse it as much as possible, not just consider it as waste at its end-of-life.”

Our Wesseling site also hosted a hands-on experience program called "Meine Position ist spitze," which translates to “My position is top.” Two high school students, Alessia Cazziolati and Nils Schneider, took part in a campaign organized by the regional industry association ChemCologne, competing against numerous other pupils from the region for a day in the boss’s seats. They won a day as “operations managers” of two polyethylene production units at the LyondellBasell Wesseling site.

As “bosses,” they conducted a safety walk in their prospective production plants, moderated morning meetings, scheduled an emergency repair, prepared the weekly status update to site management, made investment decisions and spoke to the quality lab managers.

"I was really surprised about the high focus that is placed by everybody on safety," reported Alessia Cazziolati. 

Thomas Hermann, operations manager, was impressed by the students’ ability to process large amounts of information and ask good questions. His colleague, operations manager,  Jens Löber said, “We will certainly do this again.”


Ferrara Sustainability R&D Summer School


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Ferrara Sustainability R&D Summer School


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Ferrara Sustainability R&D Summer School


Site manager Tassilo Bader hands over the participants certificate to Alessia Cazziolati and Nils Schneider


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Alessia Cazziolati is discussing product quality with quality coordinators Dirk Plückhahn and Dirk Krämer