Worlds end. Renewables in the steam age. Beam Engines and some deep thinking

Lonely, eery, inspiring and now posing another opportunity? The Lavant Tin Mine at the end of the world in Cornwall

Lonely, eery, inspiring and now posing another opportunity? The Levant Tin Mine at the end of the world in Cornwall

The second day of the South West visit was at the kind request of Emma Jones and Anthony Power to look at the options around the Levant Tin mine right at the end of Cornwall. (I keep forgetting how far the SW bit of Britain is…its far!) But the journey was worth it. What a place to be when a SW storm is blowing in off the Atlantic. We were perched high up the cliff with the cold cutting wind driving straight through us. The boom of atlantic rollers testing the huge granite cliffs and a forest of smoke stacks from bygone industry littering the coast. It was one of those “I will remember this for a long time” moments. Oh and the purpose of the visit? with a 180MWh oil bill to create the steam for the last ‘original’ steam driven Cornish beam engine pump to pay per annum this was both a challenge and an opportunity. David our colleague had pointed us in the options direction and I was there to look at an unusual one. A hydro! yes that right a high head coastal hydro. Anthony has been looking at the  large Victorian drainage system along the coast and also looked at the 1000ft shaft they have (150ft of which is not under the sea) and he wondered if there was an option to look at generating electricity? There could be, but his first job is to make sure there is enough constant water flow to then look at the options. We also looked at pre heating the water for steam using the sea water in the shaft using a heat pump or harvesting heat from the condensing pipe on the steam engine. plenty of options it’s now a mater of crunching some numbers. But what a place!

You must visit! Like grave stone along the coast. The smoke stacks for long gone tin mines

You must visit! Like industrial monuments along the coast. The smoke stacks from long gone tin mines

nothing beats cast iron. the last in-situe original cornish steam beam engine

Nothing beats cast iron. the last in-situe original Cornish steam beam engine

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One Response to Worlds end. Renewables in the steam age. Beam Engines and some deep thinking

  1. Justin Davies says:

    Just an aside but if you are to use electricity to provide the steam for the beam engine then using a heat pump to pre-heat the water is definitely the way to go, a high temperature unit can deliver up to 70°C and with a good source temperature (10°C plus) the cop would be around 3, just a pity that a heat pump couldn’t be directly driven instead of turbine to electricity to motor to compressor!.

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