NHS commissions low-carbon biomass heating system from Rural Energy

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust installs innovative low-carbon system at Blackpool mental health unit

The Harbour

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust has chosen biomass technology supplied by Rural Energy to heat its new £40m mental health facility, The Harbour, in Blackpool.

The new boiler has helped The Harbour project meet the high standards set by BREEAM to deliver a sustainable and low-carbon building with a long future lifespan. In addition, the Herz BioFire 600kW boiler will greatly reduce the facility’s energy bills while also providing a significant income from the Government’s RHI scheme.

This design and development process was led by principal contractor, Integrated Health Projects (IHP), the P21+ Sir Robert McAlpine/VINCI Construction UK joint venture.

In alignment with the trust’s commitment to using low-carbon technologies, Rural Energy has worked closely with NG Bailey, the M&E contractor on the project, to understand the trust’s scope and expectations. Providing expert advice and guidance since the beginning of the project, Rural Energy specified a bespoke biomass solution that included a Herz BioFire 600kW biomass boiler and a giant underground fuel store for the state-of-the-art facility.

The biomass heating solution was expertly managed and delivered, and will ensure that heating costs of the facility are kept to a minimum

In partnership with NG Bailey and Glosfume, the installation began in February last year and incorporates the largest fuel feed and store that Rural Energy has ever installed. The massive 157m3 store was specified as part of a complicated design process and will reduce the number of fuel deliveries needed. More importantly, it will also reduce potential disruption to residents of the facility.

The installation was further supported by filtration specialist, Glosfume, which provided an advanced ceramic filtration system. Nigel Black, technical manager at Glosfume, said: “The ceramic filtration system is extremely effective and will remove the particulates from the boiler emissions down to a level comparable with a gas boiler and improve the air quality of the surrounding area.”

The Harbour, which has 154 bedrooms, is one of the largest facilities of its type in the North West and will provide high-quality inpatient care to those recovering from mental health issues.

Paul Clark, managing director at Rural Energy, commented: “This was a challenging project with tight timescales and significant space limitations on site, but we are delighted with the finished result. Rural Energy has been involved with this project for a number of years, providing technical and logistical advice since the public consultation stage. We have journeyed with the trust and provided a bespoke renewable solution that will provide low-cost energy long into the future.”

David Hughes, project engineer at NG Bailey, added: “The project involved an incredible amount of upfront planning with regular design reviews, so it’s great to see the work complete with the facility receiving its first delivery of wood chip just recently.”

Both the physical size of the biomass plant, and the layout of the site, required expert planning from Rural Energy and its partners. The design of the fuel store was particularly complex, with the three 5m filling screws installed at a low level to fully utilise the storage space in the bunker for wood chip.

Alistair Rose, project director at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Finding the right renewable energy solution for this project was absolutely key, and we are so pleased with the way Rural Energy and NG Bailey have partnered with us to achieve our low-carbon targets. The highly-cost-effective heating solution and the requirement to reduce fuel delivery frequencies and costs by using the largest vehicles possible, influenced the layout of the whole site and the location of the energy centre relative to the site circulation road. As a result, the details and benefits of the heating solution had to be understood at a very early design stage for the whole project to support and influence the project architects. The biomass heating solution was expertly managed and delivered, and will ensure that heating costs of the facility are kept to a minimum.”

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