Mann Power installs turbine at birthplace of hydropower

Jan 16, 2015

In a truly historic development, Mann Power has installed an Archimedean Screw turbine at Cragside House – the first house to be lit by hydropower and the technology’s spiritual home. The site near Rothbury in Northumberland now boasts a 17-metre long steel screw that can produce up to 10kW, enough to power all the lighting at the historic house once again.

Dave Mann, managing director of Mann Power, said: “We’re thrilled and privileged to be working at Cragside House, which is where it all began back in the late 1800s when the renewable energy pioneer Lord Armstrong used its lakes to generate hydroelectricity to light the house.”

Lord Armstrong was a Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius. He developed a system of turning the power of water into electricity, first harnessing the energy to power arc lamps for Cragside in 1878. At the time, Lord Armstrong said: “A neighbouring brook…lights the house, and there is no consumption of any material in the process.”

Mann Power has been at the forefront of supplying equipment for hydro generation projects since 2004 and has installed over 50 systems across the UK. The Archimedean Screw has been used for pumping water for more 2,000 years.

Applying the principle in reverse, it now provides a fish-friendly and highly efficient alternative to conventional turbines, ideally suited to sites with a low head of water, and with fish protection issues.

Dave said: “The key thing is that Cragside [now owned by the National Trust] is the birthplace of hydro-power. It’s where the idea was invented…

“This is a green form of energy in that it’s renewable and in terms of the fact that the Archimedean Screw is the only hydro-power system that allows fish to pass through it without being hurt.”

Taking its water from Tumbleton Lake in Cragside’s grounds, the rotational energy of the screw drives an electric generator and the power generated is sent through cables directly to the house.

The new scheme was opened officially last week by the actor Robson Green and will feature on his travelogue Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green to be broadcast on ITV1 in early 2015.

Cragside hydropower installation in the press:

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