With the site visit coming quickly for the ‘fit for the future’ conference (#fit4future) Craflwyn has a few hidden treasures. One of these being a 1.5kw turgo high head stream engine. What is unique about this hydro project is both the cost and the way it was approached. The whole system came in under £4000 which is over half of what you would expect for this size of system. This brings us to the ‘how’ bit. Under the auspices of a hydro engineer for the week the system was constructed by a combination of Craflwyn Staff or Doug as we know him! and a National Trust working holiday or volunteers as we call them.
The purpose of the system was as an off grid system to charge batteries used at the Yurt camp site at Craflwyn. For such a low load the system was throttled back to 400w (for throttling back i mean there was a smaller hole in the spear valve and a lower head). Because we were not abstracting more than 20m3of water per day it meant no abstraction licence was needed and so the paper work was significantly less.
The 100mm pipe was manhandled up the hill as was the concrete for the weir. The finished job now blends in well and the pipe being just under the surface is slowly being buried under all of the leaves from the tree canopy. Times have changed with the development of the yurt campsite and Doug is looking to move the weir up the hill (to gain head / pressure) and is in the process of applying for an abstraction licence so that the hydro can be generating at its full 1.5kw. Overall i think this project did sort of show the way for us and i consider it the ‘daddy’ for the 650kw system we are developing a couple of miles down the road. The approach and working with volunteers did make it cost-effective / possible! and once we are running at the higher output this should get the payback down to the realms of acceptable. The payback was not the initial driver since having the batteries and generation on site made other work easier or possible
Oh and it was a lot of hard work and fun as well!