Shane’s Castle Green Generation

Shane’s Castle on the shores of Lough Neagh near Randalstown in Co. Antrim is the family seat of the O’Neills of Clandeboy. The Demesne is one of the most beautiful and well maintained in Ireland with a rich variety of flora and fauna, including a lovely herd of fallow deer that have been resident there for many years. The Castle is in ruins due to a devastating fire in 1816 but the remaining structure, including a unique Camellia House designed by John Nash, is still a prominent feature in the landscape. A recent and fitting addition to the Demesne is an Archimedean Screw hydro turbine, ancient technology but with a 21st century application.

The O’Neill family are well known for their preservation and conservation and love of nature and the environment and this Archimedean Screw hydro project complements their environmental initiatives very well indeed. Rated at 214 kilowatts the hydro turbine is predicted to save an impressive 840 tonnes or more of Carbon Dioxide (CO2emissions annually by generating clean, green electricity and will make a major contribution to the Demesne’s green philosophy.

This project is a reinstatement of an old hydro system that was installed circa 1900 that was used to power the estate before mains electricity was introduced to Shane’s Castle in the 1950’s. The old system was capable of generating a maximum of about 55 kW so the new Archimedean Screw system, with its high efficiency across a wide range of flows, is capable of producing at least five times the amount of energy over the year.

The predicted annual output is a massive 1,300,000 kilowatt-hours. To put this in perspective, an average household uses less than 5,000 kilowatt-hours per year, so this hydro scheme has the potential to power more than 260 houses in the locality.

The arrival!
Arriving on site
Almost 15m long the screw weighs approximately 35 tonnes
Offloading from the lorry
With a diameter of 3.5m this screw can take a flow rate of up to 5.5m3/s

The Archimedean Screw turbine provides a fish-friendly alternative to conventional turbines, ideally suited to low-head (1m-15m) 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 (UK) has agreed that no screening is required.Literally thousands of fish passages have been monitored and recorded using underwater cameras at the intake, inside the chamber of the Screw itself and at the outflow to assess the effect of the Screw on salmonids (including smolts and kelts), brown trout and eels.

The trials looked at fish passage across a broad spectrum of sizes and turbine speeds, possibly the most impressive of which was the safe passage of a kelt measuring 98cm in length and weighing 7.6kg. In addition, behavioural and migrational patterns across the species have been shown to be entirely unaffected by the turbine.

Screw is installed at an angle of 26deg. in this channel
Moving into position
In situ
A lifetime of clean, green generation ahead
Fish pass installed along side the Screw
Completed project

This Hydro project at Shane’s Castle is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland and rated at 214 kilowatts this is the largest single Archimedean Screw generator ever manufactured. Eco Evolution and Mann Power installed the massive machine at Shane’s Castle earlier this year. The scheme was commissioned during the summer and it is now fully operational.

Ampair Launches ‘off the Shelf’ Range of Offshore Power Supplies

UK small wind turbine manufacturer Ampair has continued its push into the renewable hybrid power system market by launching the containerPod™ range of power solutions predominantly designed for providing platform power for the offshore wind measurement sector.

Ampair containerPod with vertical deploy masts at Ampair works

Jeremy Davies Ampair’s sales and marketing manager says that, “Onshore heated met-masts and LIDAR installations use between 50 and 200 watts of power and to date we have been able to power these with our existing solutions. However in any offshore installation, the loads are typically 400 Watts at a minimum, reaching up to well over 1kW for periods. The main reason for these higher loads is the requirement for essential navigation lighting and communications equipment to be powered coupled with the simultaneous use of traditional met-mast and LIDAR measurement systems on the same platform.”

Ampair’s OF4000 ‘containerPod™’ unit is a turn-key packaged power solution that includes wind generators, PV arrays and an integrated back-up diesel generator which is designed to ‘rescue’ the system should there be a prolonged bout of poor renewable generation weather. The OF4000 system is designed to power continuous loads of up to 850W for 12 months without the need for a support vessel needing to be chartered to refuel the unit.

“After extensive modelling with our in-house stochastic modelling software proAmpair™ we could see that that using a purely renewable solution just didn’t add up as they required much larger battery banks, larger wind turbine arrays and larger solar arrays. These carried a price, weight and deck space premium that was not attractive. From the model, we could see that the best efficiency was obtained by using a small DC diesel generator that should only need to be run for 50-100 hours a year. By keeping the generator run time so low, we still deliver the low/no maintenance benefit of a purely renewables-based system, but we can supply power year round in a much more cost and size effective package”.


View of containerPod showing generator compartment

Ampair’s containerPod solution includes a variety of proprietary innovations designed to minimise the platform size needed by its customers. These include a unique ‘through-deck’ turbine pole which allows the Ampair 600 wind turbine to be lowered vertically to chest height, and also a tightly integrated generator and fuel tank compartment which share a common bund.


Ampair team on top of OF4000 containerPod

David Sharman, Managing Director at Ampair commented: “Ultimately Ampair’s system can be configured to power all of the required loads on a met platform in one single containerised package with the added benefit of providing additional internal real estate for all of the customers electrical panels. The containerPod is the natural progression from our successful land based heliPod and trailerPod hybrid systems, and leverages our deep understanding of the offshore industry. As a result interest to date has been significant and we have increased the size of our manufacturing plant and workforce to cope with demand which is a great step forward for us.”


For further information contact Eco Evolution – authorised representatives of Ampair in Ireland.


More Rural Development Funding On Offer

A NEW round of funding for rural development projects has opened in County Down.

Farmweek Edition – 20th October 2011

A NEW round of funding for rural development projects has opened in County Down.

In the latest call for applications for monies to help improve the quality of life in rural communities, the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) is inviting local people across the Ards, North Down, Banbridge and Down areas to submit project proposals under the ‘village renewal and development’ theme.

The theme aims to support the development of village plans or fund the updating of existing plans, or to support the physical and environmental regeneration improvements in both large and small villages.

Nearly £4m has already been committed to over 80 projects across the four council areas since the rural development programme began in 2009, with grants ranging from a few hundred pounds to several hundred thousand, all with the aim of improving the quality of life in rural communities.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for progressive groups in our towns and villages to access funding for new ideas to improve and up-grade the environment of these areas. I would hope that all of the eligible towns and villages will take this opportunity with open arms and help make the places where we live better for everyone, resident and visitor alike,” said Councillor Jim Fletcher, Chair of the Partnership.

To apply for rural development funding you must live in a rural location in one of the four Council areas – rural is defined as a settlement with a population of 4,500 or less – or if you live in an urban setting, you must be able to demonstrate that your project will principally benefit a rural area. Farmers, private businesses and social economy enterprises, as well as individuals over the age of 18, can all take advantage of these funding opportunities.

The Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).

Applications can be made online through the EU Grants website or hard copy application forms can be obtained by contacting the Down Rural Area Partnership office on 028 9182 0748. Guidance notes to include eligibility criteria and funding thresholds for the above measure are available at The closing date for applications is Wednesday 7th December 2011 at 4.00pm.

Source: Farmweek



Fish-friendly Hydro for Omagh – Part II

Omagh District Council has recently commenced work on a hydro project utilising the weir on the Camowen River, adjacent to Omagh Leisure Complex, to generate electricity through an Archimedean Screw hydro turbine. The development of the hydro scheme on the Camowen River will generate sufficient power to meet the needs of Omagh Leisure Complex with excess electricity sold back to the national grid.

The Archimedean Screw arrived early on Friday morning by ferry from Germany.

Arrival of Archimedean Screw to site

Rated at 121 kilowatts the hydro turbine is predicted to save in excess of 133 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) annually and will make a major contribution to the Council’s green philosophy. This project will complement the Council’s initiatives to develop ‘green’ energy from renewable sources, including the installation of a biomass boiler at Omagh Leisure Complex. The revenue generated by the electricity from the hydro scheme will be contributed to a sustainability fund, which would become a resource to support other sustainability projects in the district.

The Council was very conscious of the importance of the Camowen River as a fishery, and of the concerns of anglers. After various consultations it was decided that the most suitable turbine for the site was an Archimedean Screw. 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.

The 220 tonne crean lifting the turbine into place


Lifting the turbine into place


Archimedean Screw craned into position


Bolting the Archimedean Screw securely into position


The Archimedean Screw in position

The site has seen many changes over the past few weeks. Safety screens and handrails have been installed. Landscape work is almost complete and it is  is expected that this project will be commissioned and fully operational in the coming weeks.

Safety screens in place
Handrails in place
Project near completion

Hydro projects in Northern Ireland:

This Hydro project is the second of only two Archimedean Screw Hydro projects to date in Northern Ireland. Eco Evolution and Mann Power Consulting are installing both turbines. Mann Power Consulting based in Yorkshire are the pioneers of the Archimedean Screw in the UK and Ireland and Eco Evolution  are their authorised representative for the whole of Ireland.

The first ever Archimedean Screw generator in Northern Ireland was only recently installed at Shane’s Castle in Antrim. Rated at 214 kilowatts this is the largest single Archimedean Screw generator ever manufactured. Eco Evolution and Mann Power recently installed the massive Rehart manufactured machine at Shane’s Castle. It is now fully commissioned  fully operational.

The predicted annual output is a massive 1,125,000 kilowatt-hours. To put this in perspective, an average household uses less than 5,000 kilowatt-hours per year, so this hydro scheme has the potential to power more than 225 houses. This scheme will also save an impressive 840 tonnes or more of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions by generating clean, green electricity.

Fish-friendly Hydro

Eco Evolution and Mann Power together offer an unrivalled level of expertise and experience when it comes to the Archimedean Screw hydro turbine. Between us we have carried out well over 120 feasibility studies on low head hydro sites and have completed over 55 scheme designs. We also provide solutions for old mills that want to retain the traditional water wheel with a number of projects completed and operational with the old water wheel redesigned and refurbished or with a new water wheel manufactured.

Eco Evolution, as well as being involved in the relatively large sized projects in Omagh and Shane’s Castle in Antrim where the largest ever manufactured Archimedean Screw hydro generator of 214 kilowatts has been installed, are also currently working on a smaller 20 kilowatt private scheme in Co. Antrim that will shortly be submitted for planning. This scheme is situated on a farm and will generate an estimated 65,000 kilowatt-hours (or units of electricity) per annum with a  Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions saving of over 40 tonnes. A small scheme like this would be capable of powering approximately 15 average households.

Eco Evolution also have two schemes planned on the river Slaney, the famous salmon and trout river in Carlow/Wexford that is also a Special Area of Conservation, one of these recently received planning approval and the other is currently in the planning process. The Archimedean Screw has made hydro schemes possible on rivers such as the Slaney when proper mitigation is implemented. In fact hydro schemes can, and have, enhanced and improved fish passage and migration on many sites that  Eco Evolution and Mann Power have been involved in.

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Certification:

With regard to Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Certification, Mann Power are registered under the scheme as Transition Installer 109. Note however that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in the UK recently announced that they are proposing to withdraw the exclusive link between micro hydro and the MCS for the purpose of the Feed-In Tariff eligibility as they have recognised that there is a case to treat micro hydro differently due to the special and complex nature of micro hydro development. DECC will consider how this can be taken forward as part of comprehensive review of the Feed-In Tariff.

Incentives and funding available in Northern Ireland:

Incentive payments in way of Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation Certificates (NIROCs) are available for renewable generators including hydro. NIROCs are available for the electricity generated by the hydro turbine, this electricity can then be used on site with the excess exported to the national grid. There is an Export Tariff available for any excess electricity that is exported to the national grid.

Funding may be available for hydro projects through the Rural Development Programme (RDP). The RDP aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas by supporting a wide range of projects. These include diversification into nonagricultural activities, support for business creation, encouragement of tourism activities, village renewal and development, basic services for rural communities and conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage. The RDP is delivered by seven Council Clusters using the LEADER approach, these Council Clusters have facilitated the creation of Local Action Groups (LAG’s), which cover all sectors of the community. If you would like to find out more about what is available in your area please contact your LAG or your local DARD office. All details available online at

The Eco Evolution professional team offers a friendly one-stop shop for hydro development, from feasibility studies to licensing, to installation and commissioning and everything in between.

Fish-friendly Hydro for Omagh – Part I  The development of the site on the Camowen river.

All photographs copyright of Eco Evolution.

New Sustainable Energy Communities Commit to Energy Saving Projects

Three Local Irish Authorities to take lead in testing new technologies and policies to stimulate national move towards sustainable energy practice.

Professor J Owen Lewis, chief executive, SEAI; Dick Gleeson, planner, Dublin City Council; Tim McSwiney, senior executive engineer, Tralee Town Council; and Gerry Wardell, director CODEMA, Dublin City Council

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) today announced Tralee, Dublin City and Tallaght as the three new exemplar Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC), all of whom will commit to specific energy saving projects for the next five years. The communities were selected from 14 local authorities for having a visionary co-ordinated approach to energy savings and integrating sustainable energy into community planning and development. The selection of the three SECs follows a competitive selection process and builds on the success of Ireland’s pilot SEC, Dundalk 2020.

SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Communities Programme aims to develop a series of Irish communities as ‘living laboratories’ to establish a culture of innovation and facilitate the emergence of new sustainable energy technologies and practices that grow energy smart towns and cities. SECs involve everyone in the community, across all sectors, working together to enhance sustainability by being as energy efficient as possible, using renewable energy where feasible and developing indigenous energy supplies. The programme acts as a catalyst on the ground to help stimulate a national move towards sustainable energy practice and to deliver national energy targets.

Dundalk 2020 was established as Ireland’s first SEC in 2007. Work to date has involved the installation of energy efficient technologies in a wide range of buildings as well as implementing energy efficient behavioural change. The project has led to savings of more than 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, while organisations together are saving in excess of €500,000 per annum.

Speaking at the announcement of the winning SECs, Professor J. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive of SEAI said: “The standard of the proposals we received was excellent. Tralee, Dublin City and Tallaght will, with the support of SEAI, champion the testing and deployment of new sustainable energy technologies and practices in their communities, involving people across all sectors. The aim of the Sustainable Energy Communities Programme is to replicate best practice throughout the country and we will be helping other local authorities to improve the link between sustainable energy, economic development and planning, making significant energy savings in the process.”

SEAI will partner with the communities for five years, providing them with strategic guidance, as well as technical and project management support. As part of the programme, SEAI also set up an SEC Network to facilitate best practice and knowledge sharing among all local authorities that are progressing in sustainability.

Read More

Source: Media Release ~ Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Mills and Millers Ireland ~ AGM and Autumn Event

The Society of Mills and Millers of Ireland was launched in 2001 to encourage and assist in the preservation and appreciation of mills as part of our industrial, architectural and landscape heritage. There are hundreds of mills and mill sites spread across the country and while many are beautifully refurbished or put to good use, there are also many others which could be restored or renovated while preserving their traditional context. The society aims to promote interest and awareness in this aspect of Ireland’s industrial heritage by building up knowledge and expertise in areas such as law, architecture, renewable energy and manufacturing and making information available through publications, lectures and events.

Mills & Millers of Ireland will hold their AGM on Saturday 8th October 2011 at 11.00am in the Glenavon House Hotel, Drum Road, Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

Tel: (048) or (028) 86764949. Registration tea, coffee from 10.30am.

At 12.00 noon following the AGM  Mr Norman Kerr will give a presentation on linen processes. At 2.30pm following lunch in the hotel a guided tour of Wellbrook Beetling Mill, the last working water-powered linen beetling mill  has been organised.

Following the tour a visit to the restored Gleshygolgan Flax Mill, Plumbridge  incorporating a hydro electric scheme has also been organised.

Fee for the day €25 – if AGM only, no charge.

Booking details can be found on Mills and Millers of Ireland website.