The Shenfield Mill Archimedes screw is located on the River Kennet near Theale, Berkshire. The scheme is located on a weir that is used to maintain navigation level upstream on the associated canal. The weir was also previously used to power a paper mill in the 19th Century, before the building was destroyed by fire.
The current owner approached Renewables First in 2013 and licenses were in time received. The proposal required the removal of an existing Larinier fish pass and to be replaced by a new natural fish pass with the exit co-located with the turbine outfall. Subsequently the original fish pass was removed to make way for the hydroelectric scheme and has been replaced with a best practice artificial nature-like fish pass channel to allow fish to travel upstream and downstream. The new pass was completed prior to the turbine installation, which is now progressing under the principal contractor Greenfords.
This will affect a significant improvement to the ability of fish to navigate the site, as the flow from the turbine will act as an attractive feature across moderate flows ensuring more fish reach the fish pass.
The Shenfield Mill Archimedes screw turbine will have a maximum generating capacity of 60kW, which would be sufficient to meet the annual electricity needs of approximately 78 English homes. The scheme will also involve the construction of an intake, discharge and turbine channel adjacent to Shenfield Mill Weir, construction of a generator building and reinstatement of landscape and a planting scheme. Although already underway, it is anticipated that construction of the scheme will take place over a period of approximately 3 months.
The images below show the weir prior to any works (top left), the concrete and brick housing for the Archimedes screw (top right), and the screw being lifted into position.
The 60 kW Archimedes screw turbine operates on a 1.8m head and has a flow capacity of 5 cumec (cubic metres per second). The turbine includes an innovative high efficiency synchronous generator to capture as much as possible of the energy converted by the turbine.
In the following weeks the electrical and mechanical aspects of the hydro scheme will be progressed, ready for system commissioning.
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