Funding Case Study: LoRaWAN Network & Sensor Deployment, Local Growth Fund

Project Name: LoRaWAN Network & Sensor Deployment

Project Applicant: Westwood Limited

Project Total Cost: c. £480,000

Local Growth Fund Allocation:  c. £230,000

Contracted outputs: 5 jobs created, £250,000 of private leverage, 3 businesses assisted, Greenhouse gas reductions TBC.

Project Description:
The primary goal of the project is to facilitate green energy sources and reduce carbon emission for the natural gas network. The deployed equipment provides a higher density of monitoring and control equipment for injecting Hydrogen and or bio-Methane into the gas grid.

The scope of the project is to deploy a LoRaWAN IOT network and 200 Aircom RTU’s for Gas Utility networks to suit a wide variety of applications to prove the suitability of LoRaWAN and Aircom. The installations included a wide range of applications from simple pressure monitoring, bio-methane and profiling. The key aims of the project were to prove:

  • Suitability of a LoRaWAN IOT network for a Gas and other Utility companies.
  • Capex and Opex saving by utilising the technology.
  • Carbon reduction benefits by higher granularity of measurement.
  • Help to facilitate green energy sources such as Bio-Methane and Hydrogen.

Challenges:

LoRa WAN is being extensively used in Gas Networks in European Countries and by large International Industrial organisations who are realising the environmental and operational benefits. Introducing a new communication network to the UK requires UK companies to consider issues such as cyber security and availability of service. It is difficult for Large organisations to commit the time and expertise to these issue and therefore the take up of LoRa has been very slow.

Project achievement:

Because of the LEP project, Westwood has been able to engage with Cadent Gas Networks, National Grid, and Storengy who have all now received hardware. All three companies are taking part in the trial. In each kick off meeting all of the engaged companies have identified a number of applications with measurable benefits. In many of the use cases obtaining operational information from instrumentation would have been cost prohibitive with conventional technologies.

So far the project is currently not just addressing concerns over cyber security and availability of service but demonstrating improvements over current technology. Due to the contributions and cooperation of the parties involved it is anticipated that the project will now deliver a more comprehensive use case resulting in adoption through the UK.

Thanks to the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, in Phase 2 of the project running in conjunction, all of the UK networks have now  committed to trailing LoRa networks.

Jack Ridge, Sales Director at Westwood Technical, said: “We’re excited to take this project into the second stage and the grant has enabled this innovative project to go ahead. Our devices and data network facilitates green energy sources and reduces carbon emissions. 

“The grant from Cheshire and Warrington LEP will help to fund the purchase of equipment, conduct a deployment study, create a batch of Aircom instruments and is also helping our company to create seven new jobs in this specialist field.”

Cheshire and Warrington LEP Chair Clare Hayward said: “This investment is one of nine projects supported by the £4.1m Energy Fund. The fund supports the LEP’s commitment to create the first zero carbon industrial cluster and will help to ensure Cheshire and Warrington becomes the UK leader in clean growth. It is fantastic that we have been able to help Westwood Technical pursue this project and take it to the next stage.

Find out more about the project here