Offaly man at the head of a major European gas industry body

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Liam Nolan.

A man from Offaly has been elected chairman of a major European gas industry body.

Liam Nolan, from Rhode, is the first Irish president in the history of MARCOGAZ, one of Europe’s leading gas associations.

Based in Brussels, MARCOGAZ is the representative body of the European gas industry on all technical issues and a key association in Europe’s transition to a cleaner energy future.

Mr. Nolan, Head of Technical Development and Technical Training at Gas Networks Ireland, was elected last Tuesday in Hamburg by the General Assembly of MARCOGAZ representing 28 member organizations from 20 European countries, becoming the first Irish President in the 54 years of the association. the story.

“The gas community in Europe has entrusted me with the task of continuing to serve and lead its technical association, MARCOGAZ, in times when the gas industry is challenged to respond to extreme emergency scenarios,” said Mr Nolan.

“I am delighted to represent member organizations and help secure a safe and clean energy future for Europe and Ireland.”

Mr. Nolan has been a member of MARCOGAZ’s board of directors for 15 years and its vice-president since 2020.

He is also a board member of the Gas Installers Register of Ireland, serves as Chairman of the Central Committee of the Gas Technical Standards Committee (GTSC) of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), is a member of the Board of the GERG European Gas Research Group and represents Ireland on the Council of the International Gas Union (IGU).

Mr Nolan said it was imperative that Ireland and the European Union (EU) accelerate the transition to renewable gases in line with the RePowerEU plan.

“Now, more than ever, as the European Commission strives to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels by diversifying gas supplies and accelerating the deployment of renewable gases, it is vital for Ireland to be at the forefront of gas network development and decarbonisation in Europe,” Mr Nolan said.

“We need to ensure security of energy supply, decarbonize the entire gas value chain and overcome particular technical issues regarding the integrity and security of gas networks transporting renewable and low-carbon gases. .”

Mr. Nolan succeeds Thea Larsen, CEO of the Danish Center for Gas Technology, who served as MARCOGAZ Chairman since 2020. Alexander Schwanzer, Head of Certification at ÖVGW, the Austrian technical association for gas and water , was elected vice-president.

Marcogaz’s general secretary, Manuel Coxe, welcomed Mr. Nolan’s appointment.

“We are very pleased with the appointment of Liam Nolan as Chairman and look forward to continuing to work with Liam to represent industry interests at European level,” Mr Coxe said.

“Liam and Gas Networks Ireland are playing a key role in Ireland’s and Europe’s journey to Net Zero 2050.

“By opening Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations for commercial vehicles, introducing biomethane to the Irish network and researching the best way to transport hydrogen on the network, they are helping Ireland take a step forward. before very important in the energy transition of the country.”

Mr Nolan’s appointment comes a week after representatives of Gas Networks Ireland traveled to Brussels to sign a commitment on the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) with 30 other energy transmission operators from across the country. Europe.

The planned hydrogen backbone network will largely rely on the repurposing of existing natural gas infrastructure. It is envisaged that by 2040, for example, Ireland could be connected to Europe’s new hydrogen backbone via a repurposed undersea interconnecting pipeline to Britain’s future hydrogen grid in Scotland.

Hydrogen is a carbon-free gas that can be made from renewable electricity by a process known as electrolysis and stored until needed, making it an attractive option for decarbonizing Irish and European energy systems and a strong example of how greater integration between Irish gas and electricity networks can support a low carbon economy.

Gas Networks Ireland recently completed the construction of a research and development facility in Dublin to develop a detailed technical hydrogen strategy and ensure the existing gas network is capable of transporting and storing safely in the future both mixed hydrogen and 100% hydrogen.

In collaboration with researchers from the University College Dublin Energy Institute (UCDEI), the national gas network operator is working to test the operation and performance of gas appliances with different levels of hydrogen and natural gas mixtures.

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