Sean Michael’s story: my first year

Date:
29 Nov 2023
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Two smiling SGN engineers in PPE

Sean Michael Devlin with fellow graduate Farooq Al Safi at St Mary Cray

Graduate engineer Sean Michael joined our Network E&I (Electrical & Instrumentation) team in Glasgow a year ago after studying electrical power engineering at university. In his blog, he’s shared his experiences of his first with us.

Eager to contribute to a greener future for energy consumption, my interest in SGN piqued when I discovered that the H100 Fife project aims to produce green hydrogen as an alternative to Natural Gas. With a background in Electrical Engineering, I find this project particularly fascinating.  

The process will be powered by a nearby 7 megawatts offshore wind turbine from Fife’s rich wind resource. The capacity of electricity used for the green hydrogen heating process requires 5 megawatts, which will power two alkaline electrolysers. These electrolysers will then split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, producing up to 2,093kg of green hydrogen per day.

The benefits this project can bring with the potential to introduce a clean energy system to heat our homes on a wider scale in the near future is incredible. I hope to visit the site soon and maybe even work on it.

Since joining SGN, I’ve had many great experiences. One of them was visiting our St Mary Cray office to see the Turbo Expander generator. It operates as a combined heat and power (CHP) plant which proves to be more efficient than traditional power plants as it uses wasted heat. It recovers energy from the high-pressure gas and supplies the low-pressure network producing electricity.

The high-pressure gas expands through a turbine to produce mechanical energy, which then drives a generator, converting the mechanical energy into electricity. The electricity produced can then be fed into the local grid or can be used for on-site power consumption.

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A diagram showing how a Turbo Expander works. Image courtesy of turboden.com

A visual representation of how the Turbo Expander works

A diagram showing how a Turbo Expander works. Image courtesy of turboden.com

This method of clean energy production, by using the energy released from natural gas, helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It even has the capability to generate approximately 4 megawatts of electricity – enough to produce power to around 5,000 homes per year.

Another experience I’ve enjoyed is being part of the E&I CM4 (Condition Monitoring) workstream development. I’ve helped to update the templates and create a tracker for the condition monitoring surveys in Scotland and we’re developing a new CM4 database using Tableau and trialling a mobile app to help make the surveys faster and easier. The data from the surveys will be stored and analysed in the database and displayed in a dashboard. This will help us to track and manage the sites that need surveying or repairs.

Overall, I am grateful for the rewarding opportunity to have worked at SGN for the past year.

Coming from a non-gas background it’s been a great learning experience and I’ve increased my knowledge of the gas industry massively – from how the gas network operates down to gas composition.

I’m excited to see what the future holds, and look forward to continuing my development and applying my learnings throughout the business.