UK Hydro Power Project Lights 700 Homes

A Midlands hydraulics firm has designed, manufactured and handed over the first of four bespoke hydraulic operating systems to be installed into a hydro power plant on the River Trent, to generate enough electricity to power 700 homes.

MGR Fluid Power in Leamington has manufactured the bespoke system, which will be used to actuate a fully regulated axial flow turbine on Nottingham’s River Trent.

Designed and manufactured to exact specifications, the two metre-diameter hydro system utilises an internet connection to communicate with the control panel, alerting operators if there is an operational issue.

Alarm data can be fed through to operators through their mobile phone, or tablet device, meaning that the system can be managed from anywhere in the world.

The hydraulic system will play a key role in enabling the Holme Pierrepoint scheme to generate up to 500 kilowatts of electricity, offsetting 1,770 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The hydraulic operating system from MGR is an important component for a hydro power system, a technology that can support the wider UK manufacturing sector; the turbine itself is being manufactured by Newmills Engineering in Northern the UK.

Not only is the hydraulic system capable of remaining in operation for over 50 years under the maintenance of MGR Fluid Power, it is also expected to help hydropower developers working with Newmills Engineering to boost profit levels significantly by selling the electricity back to the National Grid under existing Feed-In Tariffs.

Simon Taylor, commercial director at Newmills Engineering commented: “We only contacted MGR in the first instance for a replacement valve component, but after seeing some of the bespoke work they are capable of doing, we were keen to work with them on this project. As a UK manufacturing business, it is important to us that we work with UK-based suppliers and MGR quickly understood our unique specifications, and built us a solution in just a matter of months.”

Hydro power currently produces around 20% of the world’s electricity, and 90 per cent of total renewable power. A more sustainable alternative to wind farms and solar power generation, hydro power has been in use for over 150 years, and the development of schemes, such as the one on the River Trent, bring economic activity for a wide range of businesses and suppliers throughout the UK. For example, Newmills Engineering’s supply chain is over 80 per cent UK-based.

Mike Retford, managing director at MGR Fluid Power, said: “The implications of the project Newmills is involved with on the River Trent are huge and we are really proud to be involved in it. Hydro power is an extremely reliable and durable source of renewable energy so it is important that our hydraulic systems are equally as reliable and durable to ensure continued success of these projects. It’s also great to be playing our part in a UK hydropower initiative together with the wider UK manufacturing supply chain.”

The site specific features of hydro power make it a comparatively inexpensive way to generate power in the long run. Hydro power sites make use of a wide range of resources available such as the run of rivers, canals, and tidal change, with huge potential for future usage yet to be fully explored.

Simon Taylor added: “The role of hydro power in renewable energy still has a large global potential and the project on the River Trent will contribute to the UK’s commitment to increase renewable energy generation to 15 per cent by 2020. What’s more, the project will be available to view for members of the public, because, once complete, it will be situated at the National Water Sports Centre, as a demonstration of the efficiency and durability of hydro power and MGR’s specialist, bespoke hydraulic power system.”

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