£1m hydro-electric project set to be biggest of its kind in Europe

Eco Evolution appointed agents in Ireland for Mann Power Consulting Ltd., the Archimedean Screw hydro turbine specialists in the UK.

A £1MILLION green scheme to turn Totnes Weir into a mini power station will be the biggest hydro-electric project of its kind in Europe.

The scheme — which could be in action powering up King Edward VI Community College by the beginning of 2012 — involves installing a four metre diameter Archimedean screw turbine to fill the 20-metre long sluice at one end of the centuries old town weir.

There are already 15 similar water-powered turbines operating in the UK and another 100 across Europe.

But the Totnes turbine’s size and its 200 kilowatt output would make it the biggest in Europe so far, revealed Dave Mann, the boss of Yorkshire company Mannpower.

It would harness the power of the 13 tonnes a second of water that pours over the weir which would then be used to provide electricity for the classrooms of more than 1,800 pupils at what is one of the largest schools in Devon.

“We have calculated that it will produce as much power as the school uses,” Mr Mann explained as he outlined the project at a public meeting at the college.

A similar, but slightly smaller screw, was installed at the River Dart Country Park by Mr Mann’s company and has been powering the park successfully for the past three years.

A consortium of local investors, called the Dart Renewable Partnership, has already bought the weir from one-time Autotrader boss Malcolm Barrett for £75,000.

The deal included land next to the weir where there are proposals to build a small classroom complex which would be used as part of a KEVICC educational project involving power generation and the river environment.

Mr Mann aims to submit a planning application for the project next month and begin construction in July next year and the turbine could be producing power for the school and the national grid by early 2012.

Mannpower has already held talks with fishing organisations, owners of waterside properties, the Environment Agency and KEVICC.

Around 20 members of the public, local councillors and representatives of interested group were at a public exhibition outlining the project at KEVICC’s Ariel Centre.

The scheme also involves building a fish ladder up the weir for salmon and trout which spawn in the upper reaches of the Dart — and installing underwater cameras and fish counters to monitor the fish population.

Fish expert Peter Kibel explained that the current fish ladder was too long and too difficult for smaller fish, leaving them easy prey for seals which swim up river to take advantage of salmon and trout trapped in the weir.

It is also planned to remove the diagonal concrete ledge across the weir built as another aid for fish.

That will stop the force of the water being directed to one side of the river which has eroded the bank by 20ft in the past two decades.

This will allow water to pour over the weir in a more direct route and eventually wash away the mud island downstream at low tide.

Source:  http://www.mannpower-hydro.co.uk/news.php

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