Amy Summerton is a research chemist within SABIC’s Technology & Innovation team based in Teesside, a role that supports SABIC’s local assets as well as those across Europe, America and the world.
Congratulations are in order for Amy, who started at SABIC as an apprentice laboratory technician aged just 16 in 2015. Now 24, she was awarded the Young Achiever Award 2023 (Base Chemicals) at the recent NEPIC Annual Industry Awards.
As a research chemist, Amy’s role supports SABIC’s sustainability and carbon neutrality ambitions.
Amy is currently supporting the Teesside Improvement Project on the Olefins 6 Cracker, which aims to utilise hydrogen as a fuel source and become the world’s first carbon-neutral cracker. She is also working on SABIC’s global chemical recycling initiative and is two years into a SABIC-sponsored BEng Chemical Engineering degree at Teesside University.
As her time in secondary school came to a close, she was unsure of what career path to take and very nearly went down the A levels and university route.
However, the opportunity of a work experience placement at SABIC’s North Tees Laboratory and a keen interest in chemistry led her to apply for an apprenticeship at SABIC instead.
And so her career in the chemical industry began. She was the only female in the intake of 2015 and worked on a shift team of all male operators on Olefins 6, but she thoroughly enjoyed the experience. She was able to learn on the job while gaining experience and life skills and still completing her education.
From the age of 18, she spent four years working on the Olefins 6 cracker, where she was able to get hands-on experience. She was sponsored to complete her HNC Chemical Engineering at the time and realised it is a lot easier to do an exam question on a heat exchanger when you have seen one taken apart for cleaning and performed entry testing on it!
Amy volunteered to help reform SABIC’s Education Liaison Team, which had diminished during the pandemic, and she was appointed as chair in 2022. She has recruited an enthusiastic team of volunteers from across the site who are delivering a programme of educational visits while redeveloping relationships with local schools, colleges and universities.
Amy is a steering group member of the SABIC Women’s Network (SHE) for Europe and volunteers on a weekly basis for local charity Rubies, based in South Bank, Middlesbrough.
“The opportunities I have had working within a global role has been amazing – working with colleagues from different cultures such as those from Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and America, and travelling to different technology centres across the world.
“Although I’m still at the beginning of my career, I am proud about what I have achieved in my Technology & Innovation role and the impact I can make to help others in the local community.
“The experiences and opportunities I have had while working in the chemical industry on Teesside have been amazing. I am using these experiences in my various volunteering roles to help and inspire other young people in the region.
“I’m very excited for a sustainable future for both SABIC and the industry in the North-East as a whole.”
Amy has also been shortlisted for a national Young Ambassador Award, which will be announced at the Chemical Industry Awards in Manchester in June.
Formula E partnership is fast track to progress
SABIC announced a new corporate partnership with Formula E, the world’s first all-electric racing series, becoming the principal and innovation partner for 2022-2026 and the title sponsor of the SABIC Berlin E-Prix, which was held in April 2023.
The partnership brings together two forward-thinking organisations with a shared commitment to sustainability, innovation and technology. The all-electric FIA World Championship is the first sport in the world to be certified with a net zero carbon footprint since its inception.
Vehicle electrification has become a huge part of the move towards a more sustainable future, but it faces numerous challenges to increase adoption.
These include enhancing efficiency and range, safety, weight reduction and charging speed. To reach its potential, electrification needs new formulas to help accelerate the shift from concept to driveways.
One of those is the new partnership between SABIC and Formula E. In the same way that motor manufacturers have historically ventured into rallying and motorsport to stress test their vehicles and fast-track major performance and safety enhancements, SABIC is now working with Formula E to help speed up progress.
The findings from SABIC’s work on Formula E vehicle technology and innovation will be passed down to support the development of everyday on-road electric vehicles. SABIC specialists get hands-on experience to help develop solutions that can be used from the racetrack to the road.
While the sport is just eight seasons old, the on-track technology has undergone revolutionary changes in that time. Drivers who had to stop mid-race to change from a spent car to a fully charged one are now able to go the full distance without stopping.
These are all areas where the materials expertise of SABIC engineers can help. Under the company’s recently announced BLUEHEROTM initiative, a global team of scientists and specialists has already made significant advances in the use of plastics for a wide range of EV battery, electrical and charging components.
The use of these plastics versus conventional materials can potentially deliver multiple benefits, such as reduced weight and system complexity, extended driving range, expanded design freedom, streamlined manufacturability, recyclability and enhanced thermal management and occupant safety.
Many races have already taken place around the world this year, with the remaining European races being held in Rome and London in July.