Gas Networks Ireland’s Liam Nolan elected as President of MARCOGAZ

Mr Nolan is the first Irish President in the organisation’s history.

Ireland will be at the forefront of Europe’s gas network decarbonisation, with Offaly’s Liam Nolan elected as President of MARCOGAZ, one of Europe’s leading gas associations.

The Head of Technical Development and Technical Training at Gas Networks Ireland, Mr Nolan was elected, by the MARCOGAZ General Assembly representing 28 member organisations from 20 European countries, in Hamburg last Tuesday, becoming the first President from Ireland in the association’s 54-year history.

“The gas community in Europe has entrusted me to continue serving and to lead its technical association, MARCOGAZ, in the period when the gas industry is challenged to respond to scenarios of extreme urgency,” Mr Nolan said.

“I am delighted to represent the member organisations and help ensure a secure and clean energy future for Europe and Ireland.”

Headquartered in Brussels, MARCOGAZ is the representative body of the European Gas Industry on all technical issues. A key association in Europe’s transition to a cleaner energy future, many of Mr. Nolan’s colleagues from Gas Networks Ireland also participate in and engage with the association’s committees and working groups, working collaboratively to find solutions to the technical challenges ahead as we progress to our energy future.

Mr Nolan has been a board member of MARCOGAZ for 15 years and its Vice President since 2020.

He is also a board member of the Register of Gas Installers of Ireland, holds the Chairman position on the Central Committee of the Gas Technical Standards Committee (GTSC) of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), is on the board of GERG the European Gas Research Group and represents Ireland on the International Gas Union (IGU) Council.

Mr Nolan said it is imperative that Ireland and the European Union (EU) ramp up the transition to renewable gases in line with the RePowerEU plan.

“Now, more than ever, as the European Commission moves to reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels by diversifying gas supplies and speeding up the roll-out of renewable gases, it is vital for Ireland to be at the forefront of gas network development and decarbonisation in Europe,” Mr Nolan said.

“We must ensure security of energy supply, decarbonise the entire gas value chain and overcome particular technical questions regarding the integrity and safety of gas networks transporting renewable and low-carbon gases.”

Mr Nolan succeeds Thea Larsen, CEO of Danish Gas Technology Centre who has served as MARCOGAZ President since 2020. Alexander Schwanzer, Head of Certification at ÖVGW, the Austrian technical association for gas and water, was elected Vice President.

Marcogaz Secretary General, Manuel Coxe welcomed Mr Nolan’s appointment.

“We are very pleased with the appointment of Liam Nolan as our President and look forward to continuing to work with Liam in representing the interests of the industry on a European level,” Mr Coxe said.

“Liam and Gas Networks Ireland are playing are key role in Ireland and Europe’s journey to net-zero 2050.

“By opening Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations for commercial vehicles, introducing biomethane on to Ireland’s network and researching how best to transport hydrogen on the network, they are helping Ireland take a really important step forward for in the country’s energy transition.”

Mr Nolan’s appointment comes a week after Gas Networks Ireland representatives travelled to Brussels to sign a European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) pledge along with 30 other energy transmission operators from across Europe.

The planned hydrogen backbone network will largely be based on repurposing existing natural gas infrastructure. It is envisaged that by 2040, for example, Ireland could be connected to the new European Hydrogen Backbone via a repurposed subsea interconnector pipeline to the future UK hydrogen network in Scotland.

Hydrogen is a carbon free gas that can be made from renewable electricity through a process known as electrolysis and stored until needed, making it an attractive option to decarbonise the Irish and EU energy systems and a strong example of how greater integration between Ireland’s gas and electricity networks can support a low carbon economy.

Gas Networks Ireland recently completed construction of a research and development facility in Dublin to develop a detailed hydrogen technical strategy and ensure that the existing gas network is capable of safely transporting and storing both blended and 100% hydrogen into the future.

Together with researchers from the University College Dublin’s Energy Institute (UCDEI), the national gas network operator is working to test the operation and performance of gas appliances with varying levels of hydrogen and natural gas blends.