Emerging leaders showcase Australian talent at global hydrogen conference

Emerging leaders from the Australian gas industry at the World Hydrogen Summit 2023. From L-R Parul Tangri, Caitlin Grant, Carina Nixon and Emaleena Baker.

Some 11,000 global leaders from the energy industry, across government, research, and private sectors, gathered in Rotterdam at the World Hydrogen Summit on 9–11 May. Caitlin Grant, Graduate Energy Consultant at Advisian, reports on this important event.

Four emerging leaders in that room were young professionals from the Australian pipeline and gas industry – Carina, Parul, Emaleena and Caitlin. These women received scholarships from the Australian Gas Industry Trust (AGIT) to attend the summit, with support from their companies, who regard each of them as rising stars in a rapidly changing industry.

Carina Nixon Project Engineer, GPA Engineering

Carina Nixon joined GPA in 2019 as an undergraduate and has proven herself to be an outstanding engineer in her contribution to GPA projects including the Bulwer Island ENEOS Direct MCH® Demonstration Plant. Nixon’s excellence both in the engineering field and as an ambassador for women in the engineering industry made her a standout applicant to receive the scholarship.

Parul Tangri Operations Manager, Ausnet Services

Joining AusNet as an engineer more than four years ago, Parul Tangri has been actively involved in feasibility studies, collaborating with industry peers and exploring new technologies to support the energy transition.

At the summit, Tangri networked with global industry experts, gained invaluable insights into emerging technologies and business models, and developed new partnerships that will ultimately drive innovation and growth for AusNet to stay ahead of the curve and make informed decisions in this rapidly evolving field.

Emaleena Baker Strategic Advisor, AGIG

Emaleena Baker’s strategic vision and innovative thinking has guided AGIG since she joined in March 2022. Baker has helped position AGIG to pave the way for renewable hydrogen in Australia. Gaining a global perspective at the conference has both deepened Baker’s appreciation for the sector and reinforced the work she is doing in Australia as part of AGIG.

Caitlin Grant Graduate Energy Consultant, Advisian

Caitlin Grant joined Advisian in February 2022 and has experience in a variety of engineering advisory services including feasibility studies and options analysis, which has provided her with a solid foundation to tackle the challenges of decarbonising the chemicals and fuels industries. The Summit was a formative career experience where Grant extended her network and gained insights into hydrogen developments on a global scale.

Time for change

A shift in the gas industry is fast approaching with increasing social and environmental pressures. There is no silver bullet when it comes to achieving net zero. It will require leveraging a mix of existing and new technologies through decarbonisation, electrification, and circularisation. Hydrogen is considered a key player in the energy transition with multiple projects in Australia approaching final investment decision (FID).

A developing concern discussed at the summit was the skills shortage throughout the entire hydrogen supply chain. This has led to the key concern of how to effectively assemble the teams required to bring ambitious projects to life.

We need to have the expertise on hand now at all levels, with a deliberate focus on equity and inclusion from the start. Engineers, researchers, business developers and policymakers are required to deliver successful projects and bring down costs of electrolysers, storage systems and hydrogen-fed engines and processes.

We need to plan for the expertise of the future by offering hydrogen training to gas fitters, plumbers, plant operators, truck and bus drivers, and mechanics. We need to inspire the next generation from an early age, through educational programs for school children, visible role models and ongoing engagement. We need to build partnerships with diverse groups and institutions to draw from a wide pool.

Due to the synergies between the natural gas and hydrogen sectors, upskilling those already in the gas and pipeline industry will also be an important step as the industry transitions to net zero. Giving the next generation of pipeliners the rare opportunity to attend national and global conferences, which are nominally reserved for more senior leaders, enables our emerging leaders to appreciate decision making at a higher level and be empowered to rise to the challenge of changing the industry.

The Women’s Pipeline Forum was established with the purpose of promoting collaboration, contribution, and development of women in the pipeline industry – a key part of ensuring a just transition to net zero.

These topics and more will be discussed at the APGA Convention in Perth in October.

Members of the WPF are able to access discounted conference registration and are encouraged to attend the WPF event on Sunday 15 October.

For more information contact wpf@apga.org.au.

This article featured in the March edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

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