Eco Evolution featured in the Irish Independent – hydro electric

  • Hydro electricity — Hydro electric generation — even on a small scale — can be a more cost-effective and, more importantly, predictable and consistent method of generating electricity on both a micro and commercial scale. If you are lucky enough to have a decent size stream running through your farm, it may certainly be worth looking at.
  • Overview of an Archimedean Screw ~ Photo Credit: Landustrie

    Overview of an Archimedean Screw ~ Photo Credit: Landustrie

Co Wexford-based Eco Evolution (www.EcoEvolution.ie) is the agent in Ireland for the Landustrie range of Archimedean Screw hydro turbines supplied by Mann Power Consulting Ltd, the Archimedean Screw hydro turbine specialists in the UK.

Frank Gethings is the MD of the Ferns-based company, which specialises in the micro-generation technologies of wind turbines, Landustrie hydro turbines and solar PV systems. It also supplies and installs solar thermal systems, air-to-water heat pumps and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) systems.

The Archimedean Screw is old technology used as water pumps to lift water from one level to another. Landustrie manufactures two types of the Archimedean Screw, one for pumping water — as originally designed — and the other to generate electricity using the flow of water in the reverse direction, downwards to turn the screw and generate power.

Mr Gethings says: “The requirements for driving the screw are quite low, with a minimum head requirement of just 1m, up to a maximum of 10m. There is a minimum flow requirement of 100 litres/sec, which is the equivalent of a sizeable stream.”

These are said to have many advantages over the more traditional types of hydro turbines; the most important of these probably being the fact that they are fish friendly. Also, leaves and debris simply pass through the turbine with no fine screening required.

“They are also highly efficient across a large flow variation, with a hydraulic efficiency of 87pc and a water-to-wire efficiency of 77pc. They are suitable for small, domestic applications from 1kW up to larger commercial applications of 350kW.

“With each application we would have to do a feasibility study on each site and then the Archimedean hydro-electric plant would be custom-made to suit the site.” Small plants would generate as little as 1kW, while bigger plants could generate up to 350kW handling a water flow of up to 10,000 litres/sec.

“Old mills are ideal sites as the civil works are already in place and there is the potential to generate up to 15kW or so, depending on what’s there.”

Planning permission would be required for such an installation, and in the UK they have gone through all the processes to establish it as a fish-friendly design. Being site specific, it could be hard to estimate the price of installing such a facility, but MannPower Consulting has produced a chart in an effort to do just that.

SOURCE: http://www.independent.ie/farming/the–power–to–choose-1959329.html

Eco Evolution featured in The Farmers Journal (14 Nov ’09)

Turning the screw on power

Turning age old technology on its head has started to allow one Irish company to produce electricity from flowing water.

Ferns based company Eco Evolution (www.EcoEvolution.ie) has become the first in the country to commercialise the Rehart range of Archimedean screw hydro turbines.

Frank Gethings, managing director of Eco Evolution, said “Archimedean screws were traditionally used as water pumps to lift water from one level to another. Archimedean screw hydro turbines work in reverse. Water from a river or stream flows down the screw causing it to rotate. The screw is coupled to a generator via a gearbox and hence power is generated.”

Like many green energy companies they supply wind turbines and solar panels but are finding huge interest in hydropower.

The system can range from 1kW up to 130kW on a single screw system. The first large system of 120kW is to be installed in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, to provide electricity for a leisure centre.

The Archimedean screw is suited to low head sites and can cater for heads of between one and 10 metres height and can take flow rates ranging from 100 to 10,000 litres per second.

For larger flows, two or more screws can be used.

Frank said there is scope for installing it on farms but having an existing mill or works will greatly reduce the cost. It costs €20,000 for the equipment for the 1kW system, but additional site works have to be carried out. Cost efficiency is an issue of scale. A 300kW system might cost €1,000 per kWh to install but a 1kW system might be €20,000.

The system allows debris to flow through and has also been proven to be fish friendly.

Farmers Journal - 14 November 2009