Whitchurch Community Hospital, Shropshire

Project: Whitchurch Community Hospital, Shropshire

In response to the NHS Carbon Management Programme, Whitchurch Community Hospital is leading the way in sustainable energy provision in Shropshire and across the entire NHS, with the installation of a state-of-the-art biomass boiler.

Many Whitchurch residents know that their community hospital has 38 beds and provides essential outpatient services for residents. Few would realise that the Hamworthy biomass boiler solution should halve the hospital's current carbon emissions with a highly efficient renewable heating technology that produces very little ash and minimal emissions other than water vapour.

Patients and visitors will not notice anything different. The hospital is still warm and welcoming; the hot water is still plentiful. However, beneath the wards a quiet revolution has taken place. 

Mike Ball, Estates Officer at South Staffordshire & Shropshire Health Care NHS Foundation Trust, has been responsible for the instigation of this revolution, in partnership with Hamworthy Heating and Stewart Associates Consultants, on behalf of Shropshire Community Health Trust.  

Installed during the extremely cold winter, the 250kW output Biomatic boiler immediately had to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide much needed heat for the patients, and its performance was impressive, according to Mike Ball. “At peak times the boiler was using 20 tonnes of wood each week. Its performance from day one has been fantastic” he said.

The boiler is fuelled by wood pellets, purchased from a local company through NHS Purchasing. During the winter the storage silo for the pellets has been filled every two to three weeks, but since then the demand has reduced in line with an increase in the temperatures outside.

From the storage silo, the fuel feed to the boiler is fully automatic via a mechanical auger and intermediate hopper system with infra-red fuel level sensor, which reduces cycling of the feed auger, reducing wear and tear and saving energy. Safety features include 3-stage burn-back protection, with pressure and temperature sensors interlocked to the boiler control.

Unlike many biomass boilers which require continuous burning and trickle fuel feed to stay alight, the Biomatic boiler features fully automatic ignition with self-extinguish and auto-restart during periods of no demand, saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions.

While saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, the boiler will provide an economic boost to the community hospital as well. The cost for the installation of the boiler falls to the PCT capital budget, while the expected Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) money from central government will be given directly to the hospital.

Mike Ball has been very happy with the service provided by Hamworthy. The brief for the boiler was for something reliable and simple which Ball feels is exactly what has been delivered. “The installation had to be achieved within a tight timeframe and we received fantastic support from Hamworthy” he said. 

“The company didn’t just provide a biomass boiler they supported us throughout the entire project, providing us with advice on fuel selection, handling, delivery and storage. They have enabled the Trust to deliver environmentally sustainable heating at highly efficient levels of performance” he continued.
Neville Radford was responsible for Hamworthy’s project management.  “At Hamworthy we are adept at carefully balancing environmental ambitions with real-world practicality, identifying core issues around renewable energy and delivering pragmatic solutions that achieve the project goals. We engage a partnership approach which has worked very well at Whitchurch” he said.

For more information on biomass boiler solutions, talk to Hamworthy.
Tel: 0845 450 2865, email sales@hamworthy-heating.com, or visit www.hamworthy-heating.com.