Clean Fuels Engineer
Clean Fuels Engineer
Dr Revata Seneviratne
What is your role at TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory?
I am an engineer with the Clean Fuels Group. With the global energy transition to clean fuels, additional test facilities were needed at TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory. My experience and expertise in designing, building and operating test facilities and analysing test data therefore ideally suited a role within this team.
What is your academic/industrial background?
I am a Charted Engineer with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and hold a BEng in Mechanical Engineering, and an MSc and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London.
I have over 18 years of experience in the energy industry. Five of these were at Haycarb Limited in Sri Lanka where I was involved in designing and building a biomass pyrolysis plant for cogeneration of 1 MWe of electricity and charcoal for the production of activated carbon. Before joining TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory in January 2020, I was a Senior Engineer at Doosan Babcock where I worked for over 10 years. During this period, the projects I was involved in ranged from upgrading and operating test facilities for evaluating combustion performance of utility scale burners up to 60 MWt capacity, testing oxy-combustion and post combustion carbon capture up to 40 MWt scale, and most recently, the conversion of a coal-fired utility plant to be powered by 100% biomass.
What was the route of your interest in engineering?
From an early age I was interested in finding out how things work, and given my strengths in maths and science at school, following an engineering degree perfectly suited my skills and interests. I have always wanted to care for the environment, and because of this I was keen to take on a role which would help improve the world we live in the most practical way.
What are your main areas of expertise?
Given my engineering knowledge in both mechanical and chemical engineering, I have been able to apply what I have learnt to providing practical solutions to technical problems.
My main area of expertise is in designing, building and operating test facilities. This is from initial concept design to construction, and finally operating the facility and analysing the test data. This requires a knowledge of health and safety requirements, engineering drawing packages, SCADA systems and data science software.
Recently, I have been involved with hydrogen gas test facilities, and gained an in-depth understanding of the health and safety aspects related to hydrogen gas, and the design and operation of these facilities.
What are your current key projects and who are your key clients?
One of the key focus areas for the Clean Fuels Group at the company is the flow measurement of hydrogen gas. I have worked on the design, build and operation of a test facility to assess the accuracy of domestic gas meters across a range of hydrogen to natural gas compositions, from 0 to 100% hydrogen.
Current projects include the design, build and verification of a field test standard to evaluate the accuracy of hydrogen dispensed from hydrogen refuelling stations to light duty vehicles with respect to OIML R139 requirements.
These projects are funded though the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
What most excites/interests you about working at TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory?
What excites me the most about working here is the way in which my role fits in with the global awareness and climate policy towards zero emissions. The European Green Deal and the UK Government’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution have raised the interest for using hydrogen as an energy carrier. This includes use of hydrogen for domestic heating, mobility and for industrial applications.
The current knowledge gaps for the flow measurement of hydrogen has resulted in the need to develop new test facilities and investigate cutting-edge flow measurement technologies for hydrogen gas. Exploring practical solutions that address these requirements challenges me to further develop my skills in new and exciting ways.
What future trends do you see developing in your area of work?
There is a pressing need to improve on the accuracy of flow measurement for fluids linked to decarbonisation of energy systems, as this directly influences the impact on climate change and the uptake of new technologies developed for progressing towards zero emissions. A requirement therefore exists to decrease the uncertainty of the flow meters that would be used for these new systems.
With today’s transformation to the fourth industrial revolution, there is a need to be able to remotely connect to flow meters, be able to analyse “big data”, and update firmware on the meters by improving the performance in terms of efficiency and uncertainty.
Existing standards will need to be updated and new standards developed to meet the requirements for the new systems and processes which help improve the way in which we are able to measure and analyse the amount of energy we use, thus helping to provide a brighter future for the next generation.