Jun 2024

Spotlight on Fellow: Adam Madgett

Adam Madgett.jpg

With a focus on hydrogen, IGEM Marketing Communications Co-ordinator Jordanne Allsopp spoke to IGEM Fellow and DNV’s Principal Hydrogen Consultant Adam Madgett to get an update on the latest developments in the hydrogen space.

In recent years, DNV has been at the forefront of the energy transition, welcoming new ideas and innovations while delving into the intricacies of the challenges yet to come.

In his role, Adam has recently been monitoring European developments in the use of hydrogen for home heating, with four projects currently leading the way.

These are:

  • Lochem Allander: Heating 10 homes with hydrogen
  • Stad aan ‘t Haringvliet: Stedin plans to convert 651 houses to hydrogen
  • Enexis: 30 homes in Groningen using hybrid hydrogen heating systems
  • H2Direkt: 10 private homes and one commercial business

He notes that these projects demonstrate using hydrogen for heating is technically sound, but each has its limitations. Adam said: “These projects are limited in size and scale and have required significant subsidies to implement. Nonetheless, they are crucial in determining how hydrogen can be safely used in homes.”

DNV is also supporting National Gas with its HyNTS deblending project which aims to demonstrate the separation and purification of a blend of hydrogen and natural gas to feed fuel cell vehicles.

The demonstration will take place at DNV’s Spadeadam Research and Test Facility, replicating the flows and pressures seen on the National Gas transmission network to deliver 40kg per day of fuel cell-grade hydrogen. DNV is currently at the design and build stage of the project, with installation expected to begin later this year.

As the role of hydrogen continues to evolve, Adam believes it will play a crucial role in the future energy mix for both industry and power generation, supporting the electricity grid. He said: “Assuming natural gas will be phased out by 2050, without hydrogen, maintaining a stable power supply will be challenging.

“Hydrogen will be necessary for industries that cannot be electrified. Statistics from IGEM reveal that 99 per cent of industrial users are connected to the distribution network. If the gas grid is decommissioned, these industries may struggle to survive. It is important tonote that most of these customers are not located near industrial clusters, making an operational hydrogen distribution network essential for their sustainability.”

In light of the findings of DNV’s UK Energy Transition Outlook report, which forecasts that nearly 60 per cent of homes will still use natural gas for heating by 2050, Adam says more incentives are needed for consumers from a domestic perspective, as the current subsidy is insufficient for the average household.

Having worked for DNV as a Principal Hydrogen Consultant for over two years, Adam’s knowledge in this area has developed rapidly. In his role, he is responsible for providing technical support and project leadership on an array of hydrogen-related projects.

His previous experience in hydrogen blending for heat applications supports his role with DNV, which is now focused on hydrogen blending projects in the UK and around the globe. He joined the gas industry in 2015 after spending 11 years in the Armed Forces as an aircraft technician.

During his military career, he completed an award-winning apprenticeship programme, which he credits with providing him the fundamental building blocks in engineering.

He kicked off his career in gas as an Assistant Integrity Engineer at Northern Gas Networks and was “responsible for overseeing metering and gas quality across our offtakes, ensuring compliance with NGN and Ofgem standards”.

Adam the led the HyDeploy project for NGN, which aims to demonstrate that hydrogen can be safely blended into the gas network up to 20 per cent by volume, without any changes to customers’ appliances.

He credits his decision to get involved with the early feasibility work in blending hydrogen in the gas network as the point that led him to where he is today. He said: “It was a bit of an unknown to me as I was fairly new to the industry when the opportunity presented itself.”

On deciding to become a member of IGEM, Adam says he “liked the idea of joining a professional community that was applicable to the new engineering environment I had migrated to”.

“IGEM holds some great events for its members and non-members which help expand your network and learning,” he adds.

“Being a member of IGEM has allowed me to expand my professional network and developed my understanding of the industry. The institution has great members and superb resources, so don’t be afraid to ask for support and help – you will find an abundance of volunteers willing to help you,” he says, adding that he believes now is the perfect time to join the industry.

“There is a huge amount of exciting work being carried out to repurpose the gas network for hydrogen – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“I have learnt so much in such a short time and credit this to never turning down an opportunity. You hear this from great innovators like Richard Branson, but in my experience it really is true. Never doubt yourself – if someone gives you an opportunity to do something, grasp it with both hands.”

Adam says the foundation of his engineering knowledge was formed through the military, where the most important value he was taught was integrity.

“Fast forward 18 years, and I apply this to my work and my life,” he adds.

“If there was one thing I would say to an aspiring engineer, it would be to apply this value throughout your career.”

Adam has recently become a Fellow of IGEM and was named IGEM Committee Member of the Year at IGEM’s AGM.

On becoming a Fellow member, Adam said: “It means a huge amount to me. I joined the gas industry just over nine years ago after serving 11 years in the British Army in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.

 “Anyone who has served in the Armed Forces knows the sense of belonging you have there and how hard it is to replicate when you leave. These last eight years have been enlightening, exciting, challenging and, most of all, extremely rewarding.

 “I feel that I have found my new home in the gas industry, and I look forward to many more years to come.”