Needless to say, I wasn't in Norwich! I had stayed the night with friends in Hebden Bridge, a place reminded of the power of nature recently when it experienced flash floods just a couple of weeks earlier. Reservoirs further up the rivers were reportedly still full from previous rainfall, and the quick inch and a half of rain that fell within a matter of hours could go nowhere but the streets, devastating businesses and homes.
|Flood damage in |
The most fascinating part of this, to me, is the water turbines. There are two, one that was originally installed in the 1920s but has since been refurbished and given a new generator. When running, it can produce up to 9kW, but due to the flow-rate required, they only usually run it in the winter. The other was installed during refurbishment works in 2005, and is rated at 1.5kW. This turbine runs almost constantly, keeping the batteries topped up, which then provide the power to the mill. Usage is also kept to a minimum, with energy efficient appliances in the café kitchen, and low energy lighting (which was consuming only 600W for the entire building whilst I was there!). The only thing which struck me was that there is the potential to over-produce energy (since the batteries were full all the time I was there, but energy was still being produced), and therefore that energy was simply dumped as heat. I wonder what possibility there is for something which only uses power when power is available, but that does something productive with that waste energy. Anyone got any ideas? Bear in mind that exporting back to the grid is made impossible by the remoteness of the mill.
|The awesome power of water - lock in Todmorden.|
Images: Canal near Todmorden; water damage in Hebden Bridge; Lock near Todmorden. All photos by the author.