By Mark Halper
Posting in Cities
What's good for Her Majesty could also be good for the common folk of Britain.
When it comes to hydropower in Britain, what's good enough for Her Majesty looks good enough for the city of Bristol.
As we reported here last September, the Queen was tapping an ancient piece of technology called the Archimedes' screw to power Windsor Castle, on the outskirts of London.
Greek philosopher and mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse invented the contraption over 2,000 years ago to haul water up from rivers to fields. Water would rise in spinning threads as someone turned a handle.
The idea also works as an eco-friendly form of hydropower. Rushing water spins the screw which in turn drives a turbine. Fish purportedly find their way safely into tubes that run alongside.
The Queen completed installation of two 40-ton screws in a weir along the River Thames near Windsor Castle in December, according to the Daily Mail. Once connected to Windsor, they'll provide 1.7 million kilowatt hours per year. That's enough to power the entire royal domicile (the equivalent of about 400 homes) for about 90 percent of the time, costing £700,000 ($1.1 million) for each 12-meter by 4-meter (39-foot by 13-foot) screw and about £1 million ($1.55 million) to install, the Mail says.
A £100,000 ($155,000) fish tube in theory permits mangle-free migration for salmon, trout, perch and eels. The fossil-fuel free generation is expected to cut 790,000 kilograms of CO2 per year.
Enough history and royalty. The common folk of Bristol, a city roughly a hundred miles west of Windsor, think the idea makes sense. Or at least Bristol City Council does. It's proposing to install "relatively small" screws in the River Avon, enough to power dozens of homes, according to the BBC.
"There'll be no changes to the river at all - it's simply using the flow of water that's already there," says councillor Neil Harrison. The Council aims to finalize its proposal this spring, and to install the screws by next year.
These things are popping up around the UK. Cardiff is building an Archimedes' project on the River Taff. I've seen one in action on several trips to Devon in southwest England, at a place called River Dart Country Park, where a neat bit of quiet engineering helps generate electricity along the serene river.
A turn of the screw in the fossil fuel coffin, or just a sweet shade of green that won't in the end make much difference? What do you think?
More hydro threads (some of them loose):
- Royally screwed on the River Thames
- Watch her survive a 420-foot bungee mishap into croc-infested waters
- Iceland Cometh
- Osmotic power pushes closer to reality
And a tidal stream:
Jan 19, 2012
Lighten up. I live in Canada and myself and fellow Canadians have had to put up with a foreigner's image on our money, stamps etc... for far too long. We don't need or want a monarch in our country. I have nothing personal against your queen but if I want to poke fun at her it is my right as a free Canadian. If you don't like it I propose that you lobby your British government to sever the last royal ties with my country. If or when you achieve this act I will, as a thank you, cease to make fun of or ridicule your present monarch in any way(I can't promise the same for future heirs to the throne).
Queen gets screwed, and worse! Is the sort of remark her husband prince Philip would make & has been making for the past 70 or so years! I dont think it was made here with any malice or bad intent just American humour if such a thing exists. So god save the queen and all who sail in her. ( Americans ask an Englishman to explain that joke) May I suggest that just in case her majesty reads this blog that Mark Halper should have clean underwear should he visit Britain In case he be subjected to an extra body search on her majestys orders in case he is hiding something from customs.
Mark Halper, Your headline is unacceptable. How dare you be so offensive to a sovereign head of State?Actually your headlne would be offensive full stop,whoever the target. Do you not realise you have many UK readers? Do you not understand that we don't like our institutions, or our 84 year old head of state, being insulted by anyone, but particularly not by our American cousins, our friends and comrades through many conflicts? An apology is in order.
If you look at his bio Mark Halper lives in Bristol, U.K. I also have the impression that he's a British citizen but I'm not sure about that. Back on topic, I think projects like this are useful as long as they are reasonably cost effective. Every little bit helps.