Hydrogen Storage and


Tim Lewis

Tim Lewis

A really good introduction into hydrogen’s potential within the energy system… It seems inevitable that Premtech will be awarded some hydrogen projects, so it’s a worthwhile investment.

Verified by an engineer

Tim is a Mechanical Design Engineer at Premtech. The company provides engineering, consultancy and design services to the onshore oil and gas pipeline sector. “Most of my current work is on natural gas projects on the National Transmission System (NTS), though I’ve also been working on some new power station projects,” explains Tim. “We are responsible for the design aspect of these projects. The NTS is an ageing asset so there are always modifications and renewal works to be carried out, but we are also looking towards the future.”

Tim studied Mechanical Engineering at Sheffield University. He has worked in power generation since he graduated, joining Alstom in their Power Service department. “During the graduate scheme, I had three-month placements throughout different parts of the business. After two years, I secured a job as a project engineer in the hydroelectric department, looking after turbines and generators, on projects around the world.” After Alstom was acquired by GE, Tim moved to Premtech and has been based at their offices in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire since 2017.


Why the Hydrogen Storage and Transportation course?

“Premtech are very interested in the potential of hydrogen as an energy source. We know the UK will not be switching off natural gas overnight, but we are keen to be one of the first companies in the hydrogen market. We feel sure that it’s a market that’s going to grow. We are already involved in quite a few high-profile hydrogen feasibility studies and initiatives.

“A lot of the existing pipelines could possibly be repurposed for hydrogen, though there are a lot of challenges, and we might need new hydrogen networks. We need to know all the rules and the regulations which, because it’s not established like natural gas, aren’t very clear at the moment. Ensuring we have that technical knowledge within the company was one of the reasons that the course appealed.

“Also, for me personally, one of the attractions is being part of the movement towards net zero. I have not been directly involved with any hydrogen projects yet, so I was really interested to take the course as an introduction.”

What was your experience of the course?

“The course was delivered on our premises, to about 10 or 12 mechanical engineers. This was convenient for us, and it also enabled everyone to be a little bit more open and share our experiences. It also allowed us to tailor some of the questions to suit our business. We all had different experiences of working with hydrogen – we had a general understanding, but not much more.

“It was an introductory course that took us step-by-step through the dangers and hazards of hydrogen, the transportation options, the energy storage values and so on. The course was titled Hydrogen Storage and Transportation, but it also briefly covered the wider energy mix. For example, there was a section on electrification as an alternative to hydrogen and another on aviation, so it was very wide-ranging.

“The trainer, John Massey, was extremely knowledgeable. We were provided with the slide pack after the course, but John added a lot of knowledge and expertise in addition to the slides. There was a lot of back and forth with questions – it was really engaging.

“John outlined the pros and cons of hydrogen – as there are some real positives, but he made it clear there are barriers and a lot of challenges, too. It was a very practical way of thinking and John gave his opinion of which industries and applications will be the first to roll out hydrogen. From our perspective, that was interesting. We are already working with National Gas network operators on a number of feasibility studies, but an insight like that will help us focus on certain industries and sectors.

“The course is pitched at both managers and engineers, and policymakers, too. There were some sections that an engineer doesn’t strictly need to know, such as the global trading markets of hydrogen. But at the same time, that knowledge is useful to gain a complete understanding of the potential.”

What are the key reasons someone should attend Hydrogen Storage and Transportation?

1 “The course will help you understand the technical challenges of transporting hydrogen and why it is different to natural gas.”

2 “It will also explain different methods of transporting hydrogen. I didn’t realise you can transport hydrogen as a carrier – that is, you use a chemical reaction to combine the hydrogen with carbon to create ammonia, which can then be transported as a liquid. Of course, you must break the hydrogen back out of the ammonia at the end but it has advantages over transporting it as a gas.”

3 “You will explore potential industrial users of hydrogen, and which industries will find it easier to adapt.”

What’s been the impact?

“This course has been a really good introduction into hydrogen’s potential within the energy system. As we are talking about ‘potential’, in some ways taking the course was a leap of faith. However, looking to the future, it seems inevitable that Premtech will be awarded some hydrogen projects, so it’s a worthwhile investment.

“It will be a massive step change for us because we have very well-established design standards for transporting natural gas. Those standards don’t really exist for transporting hydrogen and there are a lot of challenges. You are either using extremely high pressure or extremely low temperature and that has an impact on your choice of materials. However, we have set up our own processes and we will follow those until national standards are released.

“It’s nice to think that as a company we are at the forefront of an industry that will impact a lot of people and help move the country towards net zero. As an engineer, it’s an exciting journey to be on.”

Three pieces of advice you’d give future attendees

1 “Read up on hydrogen beforehand and go armed with specific questions. There wasn’t any question John was unable to answer.”

2 “Consider your industry and where hydrogen might fit. John will be able to relate his answers to your sector – he has a lot of knowledge!”

3 “Anyone who chooses this course is going to be taking a bit of a gamble – there may not be big hydrogen projects up and running yet. But it is potentially huge and, with the knowledge you gain from the course, you are well placed for the future. Think ahead!”

What’s next?

“I’d love to be involved in future hydrogen projects with Premtech, and this course should really help, as well as assisting on my journey towards gaining my IMechE Chartership. I am excited about what the future holds working in the oil and gas industry – and, who knows, maybe working with hydrogen?”

Hydrogen Storage and Transportation

  • Duration:
    2 days
  • Location
    Coventry, London
  • CPD Hours:
  • UK-Spec:
    A, B, E