Technologies, Economics &
There was a deep dive on various hydrogen production technologies including Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysers which was really useful, as that was a process I was not overly familiar with. It was an absorbing two days.
Verified by an engineer
Tom studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leicester and joined Premtech as a graduate engineer. He has stayed with the company, working his way up to his present position of Senior Mechanical Engineer. Premtech’s primary focus is to provide engineering, consultancy and design services to the onshore oil and gas pipeline sector.
Tom, 29, is responsible for the design and specification of pipework arrangements and pipelines including associated installations such as compressor stations, block valves, offtakes, and pressure regulating installations. He also takes on a design coordination role within Premtech, working with the company’s civil engineers, electrical engineers and instrumentation engineers, to deliver projects to customers such as National Gas Transmission and Cadent.
“It’s primarily desk-based but, at the start of a project, we will typically go out on site, then again at a couple of key milestones,” says Tom. “In 2021, the company set up a dedicated net zero team, and I have a key role in that. It’s an area I am personally interested in.”
Why the Clean Hydrogen course?
“I am one of the engineers leading our new net zero engineering team. We’re looking at anything that is not day-to-day natural gas and has a net zero focus – so biogas, CO2 pipelines, carbon capture and storage, and, of course, hydrogen. We have picked up quite a few projects that are hydrogen focused. There’s a lot of investment going on in hydrogen – particularly the pre-feasibility and strategy stage projects. Hydrogen is increasingly being seen as credible solution to decarbonisation.
“I am trying to build as much knowledge as I can, as well as gain a broader perspective of the wider hydrogen economy. To that end, I have completed hydrogen courses with the Institute of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as well as various industry webinars.
“I selected the Clean Hydrogen course as the key topics on the course description on the IMechE website appeared to be the ones most closely aligned with my learning objectives. On this course, I wanted to expand my knowledge of the hydrogen supply chain, including hydrogen production technologies and energy system integration. I enjoy being able to work on a variety of different problems and having the opportunity to think creatively to solve them.
“I have taken a few IMechE courses before – Design of Piping Systems, Pipe Stress Analysis and New Engineering Manager – I found them all a good experience, so I was confident of the high quality.”
What was your experience of the course?
“It was a two-day course with about 12 attendees and it was a good mix of people. There were quite a few from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. That was very interesting as they were able to explain the official stance on hydrogen policy, as well as give their personal thoughts. There is clearly funding to support hydrogen innovation but there is scepticism, too, especially around domestic heating and boilers, which would all need changing or modifying to use 100 per cent hydrogen.
“The course was taken by Dr John Massey, who though not an engineer, is an expert in hydrogen and clean energy. He was not biased and just gave a completely factual and pragmatic approach to hydrogen. A lot of the day-to-day conversations that I have are with people that own gas pipelines, are setting up hydrogen production plants or things like that. They have a vested interest to say why hydrogen is the future. This course was more open about both the opportunities and the challenges.
“The course was very free flowing and fluid, going off at tangents, with attendees chipping in and conversations about the limitations and non-obvious uses hydrogen. It was definitely not death by PowerPoint!
“The sections that resonated most with me were the real-life examples of hydrogen projects, specific data on supply and demand, and understanding the different hydrogen production technologies. There was a deep dive on various hydrogen production technologies including Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysers which was really useful, as that was a process I was not overly familiar with. It was an absorbing two days.”
What are the key reasons someone should attend Clean Hydrogen course?
1 “To understand hydrogen production technologies, particularly PEM.”
2 “To get to grips with the economics of hydrogen production and its present uses, as well as potential uses. The case studies of industries that either use – or could use – hydrogen were really useful to gain a bit of context.”
3 “To gain an insight into current global investment in hydrogen projects and UK government policy.”
What’s been the impact?
“I’ve worked on projects on hydrogen transmission pipelines and how you move it from A to B. But I didn’t know enough about the start point of hydrogen production or the end point of hydrogen usage. Obviously, any additional information about transmission was helpful but my main interest was production and what industries are using hydrogen or looking to transition to hydrogen.
“I did learn a lot. Some of the case studies and examples were the really useful. I was doing a strategic project at the time looking at where you might want hydrogen pipelines, where you might repurpose pipelines and where were the hotspots. The course showed how a steelworks or a peaking power plant could make use of hydrogen.
“The course has given me the confidence to provide technical insight in hydrogen applications and its role in the future energy mix. I’d recommend this course to anyone who currently – or in the future – may make use of hydrogen. Or more widely, anyone with an interest in the future of energy.”
Three pieces of advice you’d give future attendees
1 “Before the course, identify any areas you want to focus on to inform any in-flight or upcoming projects you may have. When on the course, note down questions as you go along to make the most of the time available.”
2 “Listen and share knowledge with the other delegates – they may provide a fresh perspective from a different industry.”
3 “Keep up to date on current affairs in the hydrogen space, both before and after attending the course.”
“On a personal level, I want to continue to deliver hydrogen-related projects, further enhance my own technical knowledge and help disseminate this knowledge to others.
“Within the company, our dedicated net zero team is constantly seeking out suitable training and experience opportunities to ensure we are at the forefront of hydrogen related technologies and innovation. I’ve spotted that Dr Massey provides another hydrogen course with the IMechE, so I have recommended that to other people in the company.”
Clean Hydrogen: Technologies, Economics & Growth Pathways