The gas system game changer

Gas Transmission Engineer, Lloyd Mitchell, 27, is researching and assessing how we can switch from high-carbon methane to lower-carbon hydrogen for a greener way to heat homes and businesses.

Hydrogen has the potential to be a game changer

I’m determined to work out how we can make hydrogen a cleaner, alternative fuel source to our current gas supply. Gas from hydrogen has the potential to be a game changer in a future low-carbon economy. Just think about how many homes use gas for heating and how many businesses depend on it for manufacturing up and down the country.

And that’s the tricky thing. Our transmission system is like a massive underground motorway network, with thousands of miles of interconnected pipes. It pumps, at high pressure, gas from source to all regions of Great Britain. That’s a colossal existing infrastructure, worth billions of pounds. Why reinvent if we can reuse? That’s where the engineering research comes in; repurposing as much of our system as we can will save money and the carbon footprint of laying new infrastructure.

Gas from hydrogen has the potential to be a game changer in a future low-carbon economy.

Influencing the energy system

That’s one of the great things about working for National Grid – they listen to your ideas and I’ve got a lot of leeway to pursue projects. It gives me the feeling that I have the ability to influence the future of the energy system. The company is currently backing me to scope the work needed to push the development of hydrogen to the next knowledge level, with projects in Aberdeen and south east England.

Investing in a hydrogen fuelled future

So far, National Grid has committed more than £1million of innovation funding to a full programme of hydrogen capability research. So, we need to draw on everyone’s specialisms – from our longest-serving engineers and technicians, through to people on our apprenticeship programme with their new skills and aptitudes. It’s a team committed to change and I’d love to teach what I’m learning to the next generation of engineers.