Biggest HGV gas refuelling station in Europe now live in Warrington

Plant being installed at the new site

A £250,000 boost to Warrington’s gas network has enabled a huge, low-carbon HGV refuelling station – the biggest of its kind in Europe – to operate at full capacity, while maintaining uninterrupted, safe supply to thousands of nearby homes and industrial sites.

The new station at Omega South, operated by CNG Fuels, can refuel 800 trucks a day with certified 100% biomethane compressed natural gas (CNG), a gas sourced from waste.

That gas is distributed by the same pipeline that also feeds gas to around 4,000 local homes, as well as a food production factory.

Cadent, which manages Warrington’s gas network, had to carefully plan for this big extra demand, a process that concluded this month.

The answer lay in increasing gas pressures.

This needed detailed planning and testing, installation of new underground pipes and construction of a new governor station in Wellfield Street.

The project also required diversion of a high voltage electricity cable, to construct the base of the new governor.

The new infrastructure went ‘live’ a few weeks ago, allowing gas pressures to be safely elevated in the local area.

This is a challenging task under any circumstances but made even more so by social-distancing and other restrictions necessary to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Kevin Flynn, engineering support manager at Cadent, said: “We’ve enabled Europe’s largest Bio-CNG station to have the gas its needs to operate at full capacity without impacting supply to heat local homes. That’s a tremendous achievement – a real engineering success to shout about.

“The main construction work happened earlier this year, over several weeks, but the detailed analysis, design and testing that preceded this phase was considerable, too, involving many colleagues at Cadent, as well as our partner Balfour Beatty, our customers and Scottish Power.

“We worked carefully to liaise with the local residents and all our stakeholders to ensure successful completion of this project with zero complaints.

“The latter stages required us to adapt to the emergence of coronavirus, such as working within social-distancing guidelines and making sure our team had access to the right PPE.”

He added: “This is also another milestone on the bigger journey to making gas greener. It’s getting us ready for the very realistic goal of soon introducing hydrogen – a gas that produces zero carbon – to heat homes, to fuel transport and to meet demand for gas used in many industrial processes.

“I’d like to thank everybody involved – there are too many to name – for all their hard work and dedication to delivering such an essential project for Cadent and our customers.”

Cadent is the UK’s biggest gas distribution network, managing a network of more than 80,000 miles of mostly underground pipes, including around 21,000 in North West England. Placed end-to-end, that amount of pipes would stretch from Warrington to Sydney, Australia, and back again.