Durham city center receives 100 kW hydroelectric power project

Developers of a mixed-use project in Durham City, England, have installed a 100 kW Archimedes screw turbine that will provide about 75% of the energy needed by the complex.

Located at the new Freeman’s Reach scheme, the area is being developed by a consortium consisting of Carillion Developments, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP. The project is the United Kingdom’s first such city center to be planned with the incorporation of a hydroelectric power element, the developers said.

The 13-meter long, 20 ton turbine unit was manufactured by Spaans Babcock Ltd. and was also designed to help improve fish passage along the River Weir. The inclusion of the turbine helped Freeman’s Reach earn an “A”-Rated Energy Performance Certificate and BREEAM Excellent status.

The unit is expected to begin generating power in the fall.

“The hydro turbine is a great example of the innovative methods we are employing in order to achieve the highest possible standards of sustainability in this very important location,” Arlington Real Estate managing director Allan Cook said. “It is a testament to what can be achieved when the development team engaged positively with stakeholders to design a solution that works for all parties.”

The location has a long history of hydropower, developers said, with the weir fueling the medieval Bishop’s Mill more than 800 years ago. More recently, hydroelectricity was generated by a turbine installed during the 1930s that powered buildings and an ice skating rink.

“We are pleased to have been able to continue a long tradition of energy generation at Freeman’s Reach,” Carillion Developments director Neil McMillan said. “This 21st Century technology will harness the power of the River Weir for many years to come.”

The site of the new Archimedes screw will also include a visitor site called the Energy Centre, which will feature a public art installation charting the history of energy generation on the site.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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