Wales & West Utilities to increase green gas input thanks to Smart Pressure Control Systems

Wales & West Utilities (WWU) is investing in Smart Pressure Control trials this year that could see over 10,000 more homes heated with biomethane if rolled out in future.

The innovative Smart ‘EcoStream’ solution from Utonomy will form part of the trials. The system maximises biomethane usage thanks to its ability to automatically adjust pressures in the gas network.

Historically, adjustments to moderate network pressures have been made manually. However, this approach is reactive and not always possible, meaning biomethane sites are not being used to their maximum capacity.

Wales & West Utilities currently has 21 biomethane sites connected to its network, producing enough green gas to power around 151,000 homes. Like other gas distribution networks across the UK, WWU has identified some biomethane plants that struggle to inject into the network at times of low demand due to a lack of capacity in the networks and high network pressures.

Matt Hindle, Head of Net Zero & Sustainability at WWU, explains the need for the trial:

“Biomethane is the unsung hero in the decarbonisation of our energy system. The gas networks across Britain have connected over 100 production sites which provide low-carbon energy to customers, and we want to focus our efforts on maximising the capacity of these sites, as well as increasing connections for the future.

“Installation of smart pressure controls to these networks already supporting entry could result in an additional 11 million scm/year of green gas, equivalent to 10,000 homes being heated.”

As part of the EcoStream solution, a battery powered motorised actuator, called Ucontrol, will be installed on the active regulators of both the duty and standby streams at High Bickington in Devon which supplies a medium pressure network.

The Ucontrol devices work with Uconnect communications equipment, linking to WWU’s existing control room system, allowing operators to remotely monitor and control the network.

WWU is also working with CNG Services to deliver a Reverse Compressor, which would form part of the solution. If successful, both the EcoStream and Reverse Compressor systems will be widely adopted, helping to maximise green gas uptake in the area.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night.