Young Cork based engineer recognised as best in Ireland

Young Cork based engineer, Niamh Gillen, has been recognised as “the best and brightest young industry talent” in Ireland, at the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers’ (IGEM) Young Professionals Competition on October 21, for her entry on decarbonising Ireland’s gas network. 

Ms. Gillen, a geologist by training, is an Innovation Engineer at Gas Networks Ireland.  Her work is focussed on new innovative technologies such as renewable gas (sometimes referred to as biomethane) and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).  These technologies and others like hydrogen and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for transport are part of Gas Network Ireland’s plan for a decarbonised gas network by 2050.

This science week, Gas Networks Ireland is proud to recognise Niamh’s stellar achievement in the prestigious competition for young gas professionals and students aged between 18 and 35 years. As the winner, she will now represent Ireland at the international final in December and her research paper will also be published in IGEM’s journal, Gas International.

Ms Gillen said:

“I’m so pleased to have won the Irish heat of the IGEM YPPC this year. There was some incredibly tough competition. A lot of time and hard work went into my presentation on decarbonising the gas network, it’s an honour to be recognised at the industry awards for this. With the finals fast approaching in December I look forward to representing Gas Networks Ireland as well as the younger women of the gas industry in Ireland. Best of luck to all the finalists.”

Niamh grew up in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh and having uncovered a love for science and geography early on in life, undertook a Geology and Petroleum Geology degree at the University of Aberdeen. After graduation, she moved to Cork when she was accepted on to the Graduate Programme with Ervia. Niamh’s niche science background brought her to the CCS team where she remained working on assessing the feasibility of the potential for CCS in Ireland for the remainder of the two-year programme.

In 2019 Niamh was accepted to the renowned IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG) Summer School in Regina, Canada, hosted by the International CCS Knowledge Centre. Niamh was one of 50 young professionals from around the world to be accepted on to this programme. A year ago, Niamh took up the position of Innovation Engineer, working on decarbonisation options for the gas network with a focus on biomethane, and specifically, biomethane produced from agricultural sources. Simultaneously, Niamh is studying for a Masters in Project Management in the hope of managing decarbonisation projects in the future.

Ian O’Flynn, Head of Commercial and Corporate Affairs at Gas Networks Ireland, said:

“At Gas Networks Ireland we are extremely proud of our staff, and particularly during Science Week, where the theme is “choosing our future”, we are delighted to acknowledge Niamh’s achievement.  We are delighted for Niamh and her incredible work in winning the Irish heat of the IGEM YPPC. This achievement not only recognises Niamh’s ability, hard work and dedication, it also highlights the importance of scientists and engineers to our industry.

Young engineers like Niamh are already helping to lead the transition to a new energy future through gas innovation. Congratulations to Niamh on her win and we wish her the very best in December.”