Marc MacDonald

Head of Clean Fuels

Head of Clean Fuels

MARC MACDONALDMarc MacDonald

HEAD OF HYDROGEN METROLOGY

 

Tell us about yourself 

I studied MEng Chemical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde and joined TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory in 2012. In East Kilbride, people call it “the NEL”. Most of my experience since then has been in fluid mechanics and flow measurement for a range of different applications. The type of work includes desk-based consultancy, research and testing in our laboratory test facilities, and design of new test facilities. I was part of the multiphase flow group but started working on hydrogen projects in 2017 and have been leading the hydrogen metrology group since 2018.

Why did you choose to apply to TÜV SÜD?

During my final year at university, I applied for a placement at TÜV SÜD. I ideally wanted to work at a company based in Glasgow and was interested in the project on flow meter selection and uncertainty analysis for an oil & gas company. I really enjoyed working on this, so I applied for a full-time position.

Where do you work?

Since 2020 I have worked from home. I travel to site a couple of times each month for meetings with visitors and to check on laboratory activities. Before the pandemic, I travelled quite a lot to attend conferences and project meetings. This is starting up again as travel restrictions are relaxed but there are now also a lot of events that are hosted online.

What are your main areas of expertise?

Fluid flow and metrology. I’ve been applying the experience I had in oil & gas to hydrogen and carrying out research to develop new expertise where it is needed.

What does your role involve?

My main responsibility is to develop our capabilities for hydrogen metrology. When I first got involved in this area, I worked alone on projects that interested me. More recently, I have designed hydrogen test facilities to improve our experimental capability and spent a lot of time on recruitment so that we can take on a greater number of projects. I now manage a group of seven who mostly work on research projects that I scoped, but there has also been an increase in commercial work recently.

What most interests you about your role?

Hydrogen is such a new area that we get to do a lot of things for the first time. For example, I designed the UK’s first independent hydrogen calibration facility for domestic gas meters which was built in 2021. It has been used for various research projects to determine the accuracy of these meters if hydrogen is introduced to the UK gas networks. Similarly, this year we built a portable standard that can be taken to hydrogen vehicle refuelling stations to determine accuracy at the dispenser. Both systems are essential to ensure that customer billing remains accurate, fair and legal.

What exciting developments have you seen at TÜV SÜD since you started?

Since I started, we have built several new test facilities and moved into new business areas. The most exciting to me have been the test facility builds for hydrogen and carbon dioxide. I’ve been more involved in those areas than others, so naturally felt more investment in the builds and more relief once they were completed.

What future trends do you see developing in your area of work?

There has been a widespread acceptance already that hydrogen will have a large role in the energy systems for most developed countries. Recently, I notice more interest in metrology aspects. For my group this means that we are likely to see a greater range in the types of projects we work on in the future.

What is your biggest challenge?

I continuously need to anticipate the needs of industry to make sure that TÜV SÜD can support with testing, inspection, certification, and consultancy services for hydrogen. This can be difficult because the requirements in many areas are evolving quickly.

What do you see as the top perk of working for TÜV SÜD?

I enjoy working on technical projects, so the work itself is inherently rewarding. There is a good variety, our projects are challenging, and we are well aligned to the needs of industry. TÜV SÜD adapted well to the COVID-19 pandemic and had a sensible approach to managing risk and allowing greater flexibility in working arrangements. It was reassuring to see that we could still function very well despite lockdowns and recent supply chain difficulties.

How have TÜV SÜD supported you?

I’m not much of a “people person”, so I appreciate that I was chosen to lead this group. Senior management have been very supportive, especially by helping with recruitment and applications for project funding. The company has been very supportive of continuous professional development for example with my IChemE Chartership application. Several members of my team have undertaken training courses and even postgraduate qualifications related to hydrogen. We have also had a lot of support from experts in other parts of TÜV SÜD, for example on topics such as ATEX certification and Pressure Equipment Directive.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying for a role similar to yours?

My role didn’t exist until recently, but I would say the most important aspect of it is understanding our existing services and knowing how to adapt them to new areas. I think this works best if you already have a lot of technical and “hands-on” experience.

ADDITIONAL INFO

Papers, research, work published in industry publications, patents, etc.

“Calibration of hydrogen Coriolis flow meters using nitrogen and air and investigation of the influence of temperature on measurement accuracy”

(Flow Measurement and Instrumentation Volume 79, June 2021, 101915)

The performance of four Coriolis flow meters designed for use in hydrogen refuelling stations was evaluated with air and nitrogen by three members of the MetroHyVe JRP consortium; NEL, METAS and CESAME EXADEBIT.

TÜV SÜD RESOURCES

The Role of Measurement in Enabling Net Zero Emissions Watch on Demand Webinar

As we transition from fossil fuels to less carbon intensive sources of energy, it is important that the necessary measurement infrastructure is in place. This webinar, presented by Marc MacDonald, discusses several measurement challenges, with a focus on flow, that we face, as we transition to lower carbon alternatives to meet the energy needs of the future.

 

industry PRESENTATIONS

North Sea Flow Measurement Workshop 2021, 26-29 Oct

“Accuracy Testing of Domestic Gas Flow Meters with 20% Hydrogen Blend”

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR HYDROGEN SERVICES

If you'd like to learn more, please visit our hydrogen services web pages or contact us.

 

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