Fish-friendly hydropower at Sowton Weir

Sowton Mill stands on the  River Teign in Devon and has been using hydro power for over 400 years, initially to mill corn and then, from the 1950s, to generate electricity.  In the 1980s a 16kW crossflow turbine was installed which was the U.K.s smallest electricity contributor to the National Grid. To improve the power generation and aid fish migration a decision was made to install the fish-friendly Archimedean Screw hydro turbine. Sowton hydropower scheme was developed by a private client to provide a renewable source of electricity to the property on site with all excess power sold to the National Grid.

95kW Archimedean Screw Hydro turbine

95kW Archimedean Screw Hydropower turbine

Mannpower Consulting Ltd.,designed the Open Compact Archimedean Screw for this particular site which was manufactured by Landustrie in Holland.  An Open Compact is a self-supporting U-shaped steel construction minimising necessary civil work on site. The generator unit is an integral part of the construction, easily accessible via a weatherproof, hinged generator cover. The length and diameter of an Archimedean Screw will be dictated by the parameters of the particular site and are finished in the colour of your choice. All Archimedean Screws are manufactured as bespoke installations. Rated at 95kW it is expected to save in excess of 165 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (C02) annually. The predicted annual output is 368,000kWh per year.

Fish-friendly hydropower at Sowton Weir

Closed compact Archimedean Screw

Improvements were also made to the fish pass at the nearby Weir.  These measures will make it easier for fish to move upstream and will add to the understanding of their migration patterns. The Archimedes  hydropower installation has improved the fisheries ecology of the river Teign by allowing more juvenile salmon and sea trout reach the sea. The improved fish pass at the weir means more salmon and sea trout can reach spawning grounds on the upper Teign. An automatic fish counter was also installed to count the fish numbers and species using the pass. This provides invaluable information for the Environment Agency and the Teign fishing association.

Sowton Weir

Sowton Weir

Once again we see the Ancient power of Archimedes being used for hydropower generation because if it’s fish-friendly credentials. The Archimedean Screw turbine provides a fish-friendly alternative to conventional turbines, ideally suited to low-head (1m-10m) sites, and sites with fish protection issues. Extensive fish passage tests have conclusively demonstrated that the large water chambers and slow rotation of the Archimedean Screw allow fish of all sizes, and debris, safe passage through the turbine. As a result, the Environment Agency has agreed that no screening is required.

If you are the owner of an old mill site or a potential hydro site or are a community group interested in developing a hydro project for community use please contact us here.

Going Wild at Regent’s Park Wildlife Garden

On a recent trip to London I decided to visit the world-famous Regent’s Park. There are several breathtaking gardens in Regent’s Park to enjoy. These include Queen Mary’s Garden, a glorious rose garden, St John’s Lodge Gardens, the Community Wildlife Garden and the beautiful tranquil Avenue Gardens. Lakes, wildflower gardens, secluded woodlands and meadows can also be seen. It is also home to London Zoo.  This world renowned conservation centre has over 650 species of fauna from all over the world and is the world’s first scientific zoo. Being a nature enthusiast the garden that appealed to me most was the Wildlife garden.

Just a short walk from Baker Street tube, on the South West side of Regent’s Park you will find the Regent’s Park Wildlife Garden.  The garden was constructed during 2006 and 2007 by the ‘Wild in the Parks’ team. It is a wildlife friendly community garden, designed, constructed and planted with help from local schools, community groups and volunteers. The garden aims to demonstrate how you can encourage and support wildlife in your own urban garden, even if it is only small, or if you don’t even have one.

IMG_5946 (800x600)The front garden planted with a selection of low growing plants was designed to show that if you have a car you can park it in front of your house without the need for a concrete drive. Front gardens are disappearing from urban areas at an alarming rate which means there are fewer places for wildlife to shelter and feed.

IMG_6126Tucked away in a nice sheltered corner of the garden surrounded by trees, hedging and wild flowers there is an insect hotel built out of recycled materials that was made by local school children.  The insect hotel helps to  increase the number of beneficial insects in the garden which in turn improves its biodiversity.  Much of the garden is also left to grow wild to provide cover for birds and to encourage butterflies and bees.

IMG_5949 (600x800)The main aim of the Regent’s Park Wildlife Garden is to provide a safe and friendly environment for people to visit and wildlife to flourish. Their non-intrusive gardening policy avoids the use of chemicals wherever possible, to use native plants that need little water to avoid draining precious resources and enrichment that includes a pond and bog to further the biodiversity of the garden. Ponds play an important role in the biodiversity of any wildlife garden. They provide breeding space for dragonflies, frogs and toads and are source of water for birds and mammals. If you have space, think about creating your own.

IMG_6043 (800x600)Local school children have been particularly busy with the creation of artwork which has been incorporated into the garden’s information boards. The boards provide information on how to increase the species of wildlife in the garden. Planting shrubs with berries to feed the birds in the Winter and leaving dead wood and fallen leaves for hibernation are just some of the advice shown on the colourful information boards.

Going wild at Regent's park Wildlife gardenAnother piece of artwork provides a central focus by the lake, an 8 meter long newt sculpture constructed from earth, turf and wild flower plugs and giving the impression that he has just crawled out of the water.

Going wild at Regent's Park wildlife gardenThe wildlife garden also has an interesting interactive sound bench powered by a solar photovoltaic panel. Visitors can sit and listen to tales from the local community on how their  parks are such special places. Over the years the amount of wildlife attracted to the garden continues to rise with finches, woodpeckers, long tail, blue and great tits all visiting with great regularity. Bird boxes, bat boxes and bird feeders are dotted throughout the garden to help encourage and increase wildlife visitors.

IMG_5951 (800x600)On the day of our visit the sun was shining through the autumnal leaves making this peaceful haven in the middle of London a delight to be in. Many of the plants were turning to seed and coming to the end of their flowering season. With the colder weather just around the corner the community volunteers were busy preparing for the Winter months ahead by ensuring to provide suitable hibernation habitat for the many species of mammals, invertebrates and beneficial insects to help enrich the local ecosystem, cleaning out and erecting new bird boxes, tidying parts of the pond and composting the garden waste.

IMG_5948 (600x800)The garden is open all year round to the public during daylight hours. This tranquil oasis in the heart of London is the perfect place to escape for a few minutes or hours and watch nature do it’s dazzling thing!  Cycling enthusiasts will be happy to hear that there’s a bike docking station just beside the entrance to the wildlife garden. A great way to get around to explore and discover the delights that the 410 acre Regent’s Park has to offer.

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Practical On-farm Renewable Energy event at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus 28th October 2014

The annual “Practical On-farm Renewable Energy” event will be held on Tuesday 28 October at Greenmount Campus. DARD has again joined forces with the UFU, and AFBI to provide practical information for farmers and the rural sector about the various renewable energy options available for their businesses. This is a FREE event and is open to the public from 11.00am – 8.30pm. The follow-up event at CAFRE’s Enniskillen Campus will be held in February 2015.

Shane's Castle Archimedes Screw Installation - largest single screw ever to be manufactured

Shane’s Castle Archimedes Screw Installation – largest single screw ever to be manufactured & first to be installed in Northern Ireland

Renewable energy technologies continue to offer significant potential to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of farm businesses through reducing and enabling additional income streams, when employed in the appropriate situation. This event seeks to assist farmers and growers with identifying which technology, if any, is appropriate for their own business (or domestic) situation. It also aims to provide information and contacts which will aid progress through the many procedures required to bring such projects to fruition.

2nd hydro scheme installed in Northern Ireland for Omagh District Council

2nd hydro scheme installed in Northern Ireland for Omagh District Council

There will be a series of seminars throughout the day highlighting local case studies of the main renewable energy technologies; wind power, heat from biomass, biomass production and utilisation, biogas production, solar PV, micro-hydro and energy storage. A second series of seminars will deal with many of issues facing those considering installing a green energy source. Topics covered will include the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), grid connection, planning, NI Renewable Obligation Certificates (NIROC’s), finance and budgeting payback.

Practical On-farm Renewable Energy event at CAFRE’s Enniskillen Campus

The timing of the seminars is such that those attending can dip in and out of the seminars that interest them and spend time talking to some of the trade in the exhibition area or tour the renewable energy installations at Greenmount Campus to see some of the working technologies at first hand. There will be around 30 trade and ancillary stands providing both information on the various renewable energy technologies and guidance in overcoming any barriers to implementations.

Practical On-farm Renewable Energy event at CAFRE’s Enniskillen Campus

For further details, contact David Trimble at 028 9442 6682 or david.trimble@dardni.gov.uk.

 

Eco Evolution offer a friendly one-stop shop for hydro development in both Ireland and the UK from feasibility studies to licensing, to installation and commissioning and everything in between!

If you would like to discuss any aspect of your project prior to the show or want to arrange to meet us on the day please contact us here. We look forward to meeting you at the show.

New Schemes Needed To Encourage Microgeneration in Ireland

The Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) has called on the Government to introduce new schemes that would further encourage and incentivise the development of wind microgeneration in Ireland for farms, businesses and homes which the Association maintains could have significant benefits to farmers and rural communities.

Microgeneration is the production of energy on a small scale for farms, businesses or domestic homes. Typical microgeneration technologies include Wind Turbines, Solar Photovoltaic, Hydro Power and Combined Heat & Power (CHP) with equipment ratings below 11kW.

Microgeneration technologies - hydro, wind, solarpv

Microgeneration technologies – hydro, wind, solarpv

Caitriona Diviney, Chief Operations Officer of IWEA says that electricity costs rank among the main overheads for Irish farms, businesses and homes and that more wind microgeneration could help reduce costs, whilst allowing installers of microgeneration technologies to earn additional income by contributing the surplus electricity to the national grid.

She said “When compared to neighbouring countries such as the UK, the significant potential for wind microgeneration in Ireland still remains relatively untapped. Locally generated electricity can be yet another guaranteed Irish farm product, and can give farmers more control over their own electricity production.”

“We believe greater wind microgeneration can lead to more sustainable livelihoods and form part of the solution to reduce the overall carbon emissions of the industry.”

To encourage the development of wind microgeneration new schemes could be put in place to give farmers, small businesses and residential homes greater opportunity to invest in microgeneration.

“Some farmers and homeowners are already successfully availing of microgeneration and it is recognised as a long term investment however under current circumstances economic payback for a micro-scale wind turbine may not be achieved for more than ten years. In our pre-budget submission to the Government we have therefore, called for new schemes, akin to those in other countries, that could reduce the payback period, making this a much more attractive option for farmers but also for suitable small businesses and some residential homes.”
The Irish Wind Energy Association has launched a step-by-step guide aimed at helping farmers consider the options in availing of new microgeneration technology and is available for download on their website.

Hydropower – the world’s oldest method of harnessing clean power

Greater awareness of the potential damage to the planet from global warming has lead governments and multinational organisations to take measures to mitigate the impacts of human activity on the climate. With little or no CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions and high energy payback, hydropower supports clean development and is recognised as being fully renewable and sustainable.

Hydropower -

Hydropower – the world’s oldest method of harnessing clean power

 Some interesting hydropower  facts:

  • Hydropower is the world’s leading renewable energy resource and the oldest method of harnessing clean power – the first waterwheels were used over 2,000 years ago
  • It currently produces around 17% of the world’s electricity and 90% of the world’s renewable power
  • Twenty-five countries depend on hydropower  for 90% of their electricity
  • Less than one third of the world’s practical hydro capacity has been developed
  • Hydropower beats all other electricity generating technologies with a pay-back ratio of 300 (energy produced/energy to produce) – this is ten times more than oil-fired power stations.
  • There are no direct CO 2 emissions from hydro projects.
Hydropower -

The first waterwheels were used over 2,000 years ago

  • Small hydro schemes have minimum visual impact on their surrounding environment.
  • Hydropower, after 150 years as an electricity generating source, is still one of the most inexpensive ways to generate power
  • Most large hydro stations have dams but thousands of small hydro stations don’t – they are ‘run-of-river’ schemes and make a minimal impact on the environment
  • Hydro is the only renewable technology that can be used to store large quantities of energy in a clean environmentally-friendly way. This is done by reservoir storage and pumped storage schemes.
  • Hydro installations can have a useful life of over 100 years – many such plants are in existence worldwide
  • A modern hydro turbine generator can convert over 90% of the energy in the available water into electricity. This is more efficient than any other form of generation.
Shane's Castle Archimedes Screw Installation - largest single screw ever to be manufactured

Shane’s Castle Archimedes Screw Installation NI- largest single screw ever to be manufactured

Hydropower is a flexible technology, proven, improved and refined over many years, yet its site-specific features make it highly innovatory in application, which makes use of a wide range of available resource – large or small, storage or run-of-river, and including tidal range, canals and even water treatment works. It is still one of the most inexpensive ways to generate power, playing an important role in our electricity system stability.

If you are the owner of an old mill site or a potential hydro site, would like to refurbish or replace a water wheel or a community group interested in developing a hydro project for community use we can help. Just contact us here and we will answer all queries and help you every step of the way with your proposed project.