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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  09/12/2011  :  09:30

POWER FOR THE PEOPLE.

Once again the vexed question of alternative energy from wind power is being debated in the local press. My personal view is that wind turbines are a thing of beauty and I love seeing them slowly turning and producing clean energy. However, I don't want to get into an argument with those who hold opposing views beyond pointing out that when they refer to our 'unspoilt' countryside and natural views that they are talking about a landscape that has been modified by the hand of man since the first inhabitants of our area felled a tree or enclosed a field.

Being an historian I am more interested in another proven source of renewable, carbon emission free energy which we used in Barlick for hundreds of years, water power. I love the bulk of the Weets and Whitemoor looming over the town to the South West. I always remember Psalm 121; 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help...' and no, I didn't have to look that up. Wycliffe Sunday School in Stockport and many years on the church choir embedded many parts of the Bible in my brain. Apart from being a superb protector of the town against the prevailing south west winds it gathers much of the rain which would otherwise fall on us and delivers it to the town down the many drains and gulleys which are the source of Gillians and Calf Hall Becks. Give our ancestors their due, they knew what to do with this water. True, some uses like handy natural sewers was one of the least attractive of these but they also managed the flow to power water mills. Ouzledale Mill was a saw mill and in later years a water-powered iron foundry. The Corn mill was driven by water and Gillians, Parrock, Mitchell's (later Clough) and Old Coates were all water driven cotton mills. County Brook Mill is in Barlick and used the water off the tail end of the Weets which flows down through Earby and onwards to the River Aire. Further down the valley towards the Ribble Valley, Bracewell Corn Mill was powered by the Stock Beck which was the combined flow of Gillians and Butts becks. For hundreds of years the water was used for useful purposes.

By the early 19th century steam power was developed and gradually usurped water power. The last working water wheels were at Clough where its power supplemented the new steam engine installed before 1827, at the Corn Mill where a turbine was installed in the mid 19th century and at County Brook where the wheel was still being used in the 1930s, Newton Pickles told me about doing repairs on it in the late 1920s when he was just starting work. However, there were easier ways of turning a mill after the 1930s, oil engines, gas engines and eventually electricity finally killed the old water wheels off. One of the things that I have often noted is that when a resource is no longer valuable to us, we tend to forget about it. Who can remember where the town wells were today? We have had no need for them since the 1890s when we got a mains water supply. The same thing happened to the power from the water running through the town, once it was not needed for the mills the old dams fell into disrepair and we forgot about it.

Of course the water is still there. That free energy source is still with us but in times like the Barlick Flood of July 1932 was seen as a danger, not a resource. Indeed it was the neglect of the water courses which allowed the high water running down from the moor to be so destructive. Incidentally this danger persists to this day and we have not yet addressed the matter of the choke points in the system. One of these days we may regret this.

Does anyone remember the 2009 initiative, 'The Barnoldswick Beckside Regeneration Scheme'? I suggested at the time that part of the project could be to install a water wheel or turbine in Clough Park powered by the same water that drove Ouzledale and Mitchell's mills providing not only an interesting feature but a source of energy. The Council were so taken by the idea that they asked for a copy of the article but since then I have heard nothing of it. My point is that I know of at least three useful sites in the town where, with minimal investment and no impact on the visual amenities, carbon-free renewable electricity could be generated and fed into the National Grid providing a small but reliable source of income. I have a friend who owns a water site who has done just this and over the years it has been profitable.

We are not talking about vast amounts of energy, in global terms it would be minuscule, but it would be a valid statement of intent and a tangible commitment to helping the environment. The stumbling block is of course the capital cost, perhaps we need to think laterally. Suppose someone pointed out to Tesco that within 200 yards of their proposed new store there was a water power site which could produce enough electricity to make a significant reduction in their energy bill, improve their carbon footprint and be a valuable public relations asset to them. I think that given the cooperation of the planning authorities a feasibility study might convince everyone that whilst this was not going to produce an enormous profit in the short term. In the long term it would pay for itself and the more energy prices rose, the more profitable it would be.

I don't expect Tesco or the Council to come knocking on my door because, like the town wells, these hidden resources have not only fallen out of mind but are automatically dismissed as pipe dreams. This could well be true but at least it's original thinking and I suspect we would get more progress on renewable energy if we thought the unthinkable, looked closely at the possibilities and didn't allow ourselves to be ruled by short term thinking. Such a use of existing resources would be Power for the People in more ways than one.

Butts Beck. This dam served the corn mill and is still in good order.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk

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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 18/12/2011 : 13:54
1320 MW will feed around half a million domestic kettles.  1.3 Gw is handy to run up in a few seconds but it isn't much in the grand scheme of things.  Base load at 2 AM on a Sunday morning in summer is around 22 Gw, peak load at 7PM on a very cold Winters day is over 60 GW.  Much of the load variation is taken up with varying the output of stations that will stand it.. The load variation over a single day can be 20 Gw or more.  My hats off to the national grid who manage to manage it.  Having a lot of renewable power in the equation that may or may not be there from one minute to the next must be a nightmare.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 19/12/2011 : 04:33
Favourite locations for CHP units was swimming baths where there was a heat sink available all year round. I was talking to my mate John Ingoe the other day and he has a big contract installing a waste heat boiler behind a vary large Cummins gas engine. He says there could be a couple more jobs coming up.

At Waddington, wjhich is a very similar set up to Springs, I found a Gilkes turbine running a very big circular saw in what used to be a water powered corn mill, the stones were still in place. That took more than 800watts to run it! Nice set up, they had a hydraulic ram installed as well pumping water up to a reservoir for the village water supply. All one estate I think. Nice thing is that when I got onto the manufacturers of the ram at Blackburn they were still in business, had all the records of the ram and said they were very busy manufactiring hydraulic rams for Third World countries.

Springs Dam was badly silted the last time I saw it. CHSC used to clean it out regularly. Unless on a rocky bed (Like Waddington) water resources are not cheap to run, they take a lot of maintenance due to the silt gatting washed down. Bancroft had the same problem and we put a lot of effort into getting rid of excess silt. Quarry Bank Mill at Styal had an even worse problem with silt and getting rid of enough to give capacity for the big Hewes water wheel was one of the major tasks when I was associated with installing it and getting it going.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 19/12/2011 : 12:39
The figures are out there if you want to check my working. A cubic metre of water a second (a tonne a second - same thing) with a 1 metre head gives 10kw at 100% efficiency (strictly 9.81 from the acceleration due to gravity = 9.81 m/s^2) . The head and flow rate scale linearly. I'm assuming 50% efficiency which is about right for small  turbine generators. Upping the scale ups the efficiency so very large ones tend to be around 90%.   You could get a lot more power if you ran stuff intermittantly using the resovoir as reserve or you could get more water through it.  I took a tonne a minute (4 gallons a second ish )as what the beck could supply.  I suspect it could in flood conditions but not all the time.  Digging out the resovoir might give you 100 cubic metres reserve (10 metres long 5 metres wide 2 metres deep).  or 1000 seconds (16 minutes) at 5KW (10 metre head, 50% efficiency).  Keeping the silt at bay is a problem as you say, that would need to be factored in and along with fish mincing (the environmental factor) makes it a very unattractive proposition.  I suspect the noise of a water turbine running 24/7 might not go down too well either.  

 Swimming baths are one of the specialised areas where CHP would work.  Keeping a lot of water well above ambient takes a lot of heat. 


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 19/12/2011 : 15:02
Swimming pools etc should probably be also looking at geothermal, and their huge roof spaces might be better occupied with PV panels.

Interesting that no one has yet mentioned biomass in all this


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 19/12/2011 : 15:32
The report I have suggests that:

Planning & Building Control Manager & Chief Executive’s Policy Unit Manager will make a decision on the hydro by March of next year


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 20/12/2011 : 12:57
Geothermal - we don't have any geothermal activity to tap. Ground source heat pumps are not geothermal.  They aren't very attractive where there is mains gas, because the 4:1 gain in heat from pumping it is offset by the close to 4:1 price differential between electricity and gas. You could use a gas engine instead of an electric motor to drive the compressor I suppose, but if you're going to that trouble, you'd be better off with CHP.  

Solar - Part of the thinking with the reduction of FITs recently was to stop large scale solar systems being built purely to exploit the 'cheap money' and eat up the revenue stream.  (Guilty as charged, my system is there for the 'cheap money'). There is much less of an incentive with the reduced tariffs.  Without a feed in tariff they  would never pay for themselves and be a complete non starter. The FIT is highest for domestic scale (less than 4 KW peak) systems.  

Biomass - What particular source did you have in mind ? You need a reliable source of fuel before you built a power station to exploit it.

 


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catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 20/12/2011 : 14:07


quote:
pluggy wrote:

Biomass - What particular source did you have in mind ? You need a reliable source of fuel before you built a power station to exploit it.

 

There's an awfully large amount of bovine excrement continually flowing out of the Palace of Westminster. Enough to keep this country in equatorial splendour and still have enough left to continue global warming.


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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thomo
Barlick Born Old Salt


2021 Posts
Posted - 20/12/2011 : 17:17
Is this not getting a bit Heath Robinson? as for bovine excrement, if you mean the hot gas variety, its not exlusive to Westminster.


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tripps
Senior Member


1404 Posts
Posted - 20/12/2011 : 18:38
Not bovine - equine - we're bang up to date with this topic. BBC yesterday.....

Look here


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catgate
Senior Member


1764 Posts
Posted - 20/12/2011 : 19:24


quote:
tripps wrote:
Not bovine - equine - we're bang up to date with this topic. BBC yesterday.....

Look here

I liked that article, tripps. It conjured up the vision of a Hadron Collider type of constuction under the Newmarket area, with depositing chutes every few hundred yards, and a massive whirling coglomeration of gee-gee poo being converted into manna from heaven right under the Town Hall..........Frownif only!!


Every silver lining has a cloud.


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Bradders
Senior Member


1880 Posts
Posted - 20/12/2011 : 22:47
...and there's a large pig poo generating plant right across the lane from me ......if anyone were to run out  !
(in summer we sometimes get a fine deposit of brown dust )
.......Powder To The People ?


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 21/12/2011 : 05:23
One thing is certain, this article has generated more responses than any other over the last ten years......


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 21/12/2011 : 10:33
Many, many moons ago, long before the green movement, my father considered a digestion system for the poo generated by his dairy herd and battery hens, Back then there wasn't the industry to support it so it came to nothing.  It was all DIY and making or adapting things that were available to make it work.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 21/12/2011 : 10:37
Biomass, does not necessarily have to be used for electricity generation.

I was sent this yesterday:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn11_107/pn11_107.aspx

I have wondered why the swimming pool, high school, and new C of E school on one site have not yet had any measures introduced to show that the Public Authorities are actually practicing what they are preaching.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 21/12/2011 : 10:43


quote:
pluggy wrote:
Many, many moons ago, long before the green movement, my father considered a digestion system for the poo generated by his dairy herd and battery hens, Back then there wasn't the industry to support it so it came to nothing.  It was all DIY and making or adapting things that were available to make it work.


You can do samll scale digestor's but in many ways they are subject to some very strange regulations like small scale hydro. Some farms have them now.

The biggest issue is usually Public comment, of the NIMBY variety, and all round smells, and trucks full of waste which aren't secure fears.

On top of which I'm not sure that they have currently ironed out the sterilisation temperatures which will allow the resulting material to become compost that is safe for humans to touch. The temperature has to be raised to a certain temp to kill the pathogens, and this usually stops the process of composting, or negates the energy gain. Plus a local site is better because the heat generated can also be tapped and increase efficiency.


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