Showcasing the journey of future fuels with WPF

The Women in Pipeline Forum (WPF) hosted one of many site visits to a future fuels site in September 2023. Gretyl Lunn, on behalf of the WPF, spoke to one of the attendees, APA Future Fuels Analyst Vaish Kala, for her thoughts on the changing future of the industry.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the industry. From conception to construction, the future fuels are set to change the energy mix in Australia. What’s even more exhilarating is the opportunity these future fuels present, introducing new roles and avenues for industry professionals, both present and future.

In September 2023, the New South Wales Women in Pipeline Forum (WPF) hosted a site visit to the Jemena Malabar injection plant, offering a tangible glimpse into one of the opportunities future fuels presents. The project demonstrates the process of upgrading biogas produced by Sydney Water to biomethane for injection into the gas network.

Lunn caught up with one of the attendees, APA Future Fuels analyst Vaish Kala, within the Pathfinder team, for her thoughts on the site visit, her role and how future fuels are already changing the industry.

What did you like about the Malabar plant?

It was great to see how biomethane is already playing a role in decarbonising the gas network. It’s really inspiring to see an end result of concepts that are always talked about.

What’s your team role within future fuels?

The role of the team is to ensure the possible medium to long term future directions of the energy sector are understood, opportunities are identified, new technology is investigated, and the business is prepared to evaluate and adapt as the sector transitions to new fuels, new business models and new technologies. To do this Pathfinder needs to focus not only on the emerging energy technology and fuels of today, but to be looking forward to understanding what might be next and why current focus areas may need new direction.

What’s your role within the team?

I initially joined the team as Future Energy Graduate and later returned as a Hydrogen and Future Fuels Analyst, having completed my graduate program. My current role centres on project development and delivery. It’s a fascinating blend of commercial acumen, technical expertise, and stakeholder engagement.

Although, I believe one of the crucial components for our team is to ‘bring people along the journey both within our organisation and externally – be it from a knowledge sharing perspective or a social license forefront.’

What excites you about working in future fuels?

The sector itself is transforming while grappling with the need to balance energy security, affordability and reliability. It provides an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront technological breakthroughs, market advances and work with unique commercial arrangements while building an understanding of what incentives really drive value as the energy sector decarbonises. Plus, building an understanding how decarbonisation plays out across diverse industries – each with its unique challenges – has been amazing.

The importance of showing what’s already happening with clean energy within the industry cannot be underestimated. Through site visits and events spotlighting projects, we can engage both industry insiders and external stakeholders in this journey. By actively involving young people in these initiatives, they offer a firsthand glimpse into the future of the industry, inspiring them and providing avenues for their involvement in shaping tomorrow’s energy landscape.

Two site visits are being hosted in May 2024 by the Young Pipeliners Forum and APGA to two different projects, both contributing to the changing energy mix. These are Hydrogen Park in South Australia (AGIG) and the Kurri Kurri Lateral Pipeline Project in Newcastle (APA). I’m looking forward to hearing from everyone attending these events and hosting events throughout the year.

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

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