Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

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Chris.Hawkesworth
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Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Chris.Hawkesworth »

This is my first post for a while.
But I thought you should all see this and make your own minds up.

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15/06/2012
Dear Chris,

The video enclosed gives a rough idea of the final enclosed unit

Following your feedback all anchor lines will have a minimum of 1.6m clearance of the water, allowing unrestricted navigation. The “OblinArk” is as easy to navigate around as any other stationary vessel.

Video as requested



or embedding code if you require is


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/yAqUSNhT4_o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


Please feel free to publish this url for member comments


Best Regards


Brannan Tempest


http://www.oblinark.com
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Chris. Hawkesworth comment.

The barge or raft with waterwheels attached to generators is to be permanently moored midstream below weirs or in any river where there is a significant current by means of chains or cables out or from both banks to the bow. These mooring devices are to be 1.6m above the water level to allow for "Unrestricted Navigation".
I think they will need to be moored at the stern as well and might need springs to maintain position.
There is a prototype proposed for Lemonroyd weir on the Yorkshire Calder.
Both British Waterways and the Environment Agency have questioned canoeists safety.
What do others think?
Should the trials be successful these devices will be rolled out nationwide.

Please post and conteact Brannan the promotor direct if you wish.
Chris. Hawkesworth.
Yorkshire Region Rivers and Environment Advisor.

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ion
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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by ion »

Chris,
It's an interesting piece of engineering for sure, way lower impact than any dam or impoundment of water. Probably fairly fish friendly, perhaps less so for water foul and errant kayakers. I'd actually be most concerned that rather than with the direct hazard, than of the possibility that owner/operators might seek legal means to exclude water users nearby to mitigate there legal liabilities. They are remarkably like the gold mining dredges that littered California rivers until they were outlawed (for environmental reasons) recently. I wonder how they will seek to keep them clear of river debris in a real world scenario. There's going to be a hefty power cable going somewhere also, as well as telemetry requirements, so some river bank impacts.
On the bright side it might result tangentially in more availability of real time flow info....
-Ian

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GaryM
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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by GaryM »

I agree, an interesting concept, but I wonder if it is in the same category as the Salter's "ducks"? Will the conversion of mechanical to electrical energy be the largest headache?
I am not an engineer, but would think that it would be constant laminar flow you would seek to use for such energy capture, not turbulent water as you would find below a weir. It may be that these are suited to a particular weir design, and looking at the one where the prototype is proposed, this is not like a great many weirs on rivers, certainly very few like that on the higher reaches of the Severn.
Also, despite the 1.6m mooring height, we have seen recently 2 to 3 metre water level increases in 24 hours, so how would these cope with such no longer 50 to 100 year events? Would there need to be teams racing round the countryside securing them at such times? If so then their green credentials come into question.
Lets see what the testing shows, but if anything like the wave/tidal power tests up in north of Scotland, what were initially seen as the front runners have been most disappointing.
Surely there might be other ideas and designs to test out?
I was surprised when a few years ago they rebuilt weirs on the River Teme at Ludlow, but did not include any power extraction devices then (i.e Archimedes screws), maybe an oversight they wish they had thought of at the time now?

Many thanks Chris for posting this up, and keeping us informed.
Just a suggestion, but why don't the BCU include information for projects like this on a specific page on the web site, and have regular, say annual, reports in BCU Focus updating us on progress of such ingenious ideas, and their outcomes.
Gary Mascall

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by biketastik »

GaryM wrote:Just a suggestion, but why don't the BCU include information for projects like this on a specific page on the web site, and have regular, say annual, reports in BCU Focus updating us on progress of such ingenious ideas, and their outcomes.
Because they know it all come up on here anyway!

Chris.Hawkesworth
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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Chris.Hawkesworth »

Gary,
Lemon Royd weir as you can see in the pic has high wing walls.
Brannan's idea is to anchor the raft with two bow ropes from either side of the top of the wing walls to either side of the bow of the raft. I agree with your laminar flow comments and my humble opinion (new to this and making this up as I go along) is that this is agravated by the disturbance of both the first paddle wheel and the boat itself. When under load the raft will tend to snake and Brannan with either have to fit skegs or stern ropes to hold position. Also, action and reaction are equal and opposite so the electical load via the paddle wheels will come onto the bow ropes. These ropes and their anchorages will need to be substantial. Much more than Brannan has allowed for.
I have mixed feelings about the idea, but I wonder if the raft could be fitted with web cams. If there was one that the public could access that looked over the bow at the weir with a staff gauge it could be very useful for level and safety information. Other web cams could be for the owner to keep an eye on the ropes.
I also feel that the brash and trees issue has not been taken account enough. I cannot help but think there will be a 2nd design coming along with a funnel shaped bow to increase/improve efficiency of the next generation and one wonders where it will end. Finally there is the question of whether mooring a barge in midstream is legal in a navigation.

If we know where these things are and if they are far enough from the weir then I have less of an issue with them than the screw hydro's which at Mickley Weir on the Ure is due to leave only 2 cu mecs of hands off flow on a river that is 75m wide.

I cannot really comment on the BCU/CE issues that you raise other than I use my page in Focus as much as I can.
Chris.

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Ian Dallaway »

Hi Chris,
Many thanks for posting this on here and keeping us informed of a new hazard on our rivers.

I wonder how much of a snag hazard it will be to trees and other debris that get washed down the rivers during floods?

Ian
Ian

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Garry »

Is there any info on the actual scale/size of the real thing? The test models in the video are quite small, but I get the impression that the design in the working diagframs is quite a bit bigger, but no measurements given as far as I could see?

Key issue from a safety perspective would appear to be pin/entrapment potential on the front screen for both boat and/or swimmer. How serious this coudl be would be dependent on how big the thing was. If its less than a meter wide as in the model then probably not bad but if 3 or 4 meters wide then potentially a different prospect?

Agree also that tethering and power off load arrangements could be an issue as these will also create additional hazards if not done carefully.

On the positive side since these seem to take power from the focussed flow downstream of a weir feature they could in theory be designed so as not to impact the recreational/playboat potential of the weir above unlike other schems such as Archimedes screw, which take power out of the feature itself.

On a general point though and specifically as feedback to BCU and others involved in these schemes I think it is important that we make it clear that "navigation" is not just about passing from one part of the river to another, but also includes the ability to use the features on the river itself for recreation e.g. slalom and playboating in the weir and flow features. It is therefore important when assesing any of these schemes that the impact on these aspects of "navigation" are considerded as well, not just the simple act of passing from point A to point B on the river.

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Croft »

Looks like these would be quite easy to avoid for a competent kayaker (so long as cables were above head height), but what about swimmers if they are attached below weirs?

Effectively they would probably be no more dangerous than pontoon bridges - of which there are many on navigated rivers in China.

Effectively I think it would be good to try to help find a way to make this work rather than simply a NIMBY attitude (or should it be NOMFAR - not on my favourite river)!
Ian Beecroft - old-timer amateur boater

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Adrian Cooper »

I think that, while they are all dressed up in their drysuits, they should have a go at swimming under one or maybe sitting in a kayak upside down whilst passing under one. First hand testing like this is essential for the inventors to eliminate risk.

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Poke »

I think that no matter what weir they are to be situated on, they will be situated in the main flow.
If they were installed below a weir with a good playwave, this area of main flow is inevitably immediately below the play feature.

So, although these won’t affect the fact the play feature itself by diverting water, they will essentially stop playboating on that feature.
I imagine if they were downstream enough of the feature to allow reasonable rolling / swimming out the way time, their effectiveness would be greatly reduced.

Now, that said, there aren’t that many weirs that are the sole reason for going paddling in that place (eg. Hurley, Newark etc), so provided they worked with paddlers, and didn’t install them on certain weirs, I can’t see their installation being too much of an issue.
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blackgold
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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by blackgold »

Looks very interesting, there will be problems with it, like all energy producing machines, not into fossil fuels or nuclear power, so will watch with interest. The key is to involve people in the process, and do not hide the disadvantages or problems. What annoys people is being excluded from the process, and the experts telling them what’s best for them.

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by morsey »

Chris.Hawkesworth wrote:This is my first post for a while.
Yes, we know the reason you have not posted is because BCU/CE refuse to engage in dialogue with recreational paddlers about the issue that is of prime importance, Access to waterways!

Rather than sidetrack this thread, I'll direct you to this thread about the recent access survey, to this thread about the BCU/CE Access Policy and also point you to your Private Messages, where I have sent a copy of the message, that Chloe Nelson refused to answer, about your actions relating to the river Ure.

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by steveg »

Lemonroyd Weir is on the River Aire and is the weir that forms the 'Aire Wave'. This trial will have serious implications for the playboaters who use (or used!) this weir.

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Poke »

steveg wrote:Lemonroyd Weir is on the River Aire and is the weir that forms the 'Aire Wave'. This trial will have serious implications for the playboaters who use (or used!) this weir.
Fair point.
For some reason (possibly 'cos Chris said it was on the Calder) I assumed that it was at Mytholmroyd (well, it looks a bit like Lemonroyd).

As it is, yep. The Aire wave may not be paddler friendly for much longer :-( http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/hi ... aspx?27080
(interestingly, the max recorded flow over the weir ~240 cumecs - from the Ratings link on that page, with 100+ cumecs happening quite frequently)
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Chris.Hawkesworth
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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Chris.Hawkesworth »

Apologies.
I was given duff location information and should have known better.
Lemonroyd Weir is indeed on the Aire.
BW call it the Aire and Calder navigation.

The full size given to me by the promoter is 5m wide x 20m long.
The design of the front will be crucial for both power generation and general safety/ brash iminimalisation let alone paddlers.
I do wonder if some sort of snow plough/cow catcher design could be worked out.
Maybe with a sub boom further in front from the main intake grill.
Chris.

Garry
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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Garry »

Chris, important to note also that mooring these anywhere near the downstream flow from a weir used for playboating or similar will be an issue, no matter how well designed they are. i.e. its not just about navigation, round/through the weir but important that consideration is given to all existing uses/users. Ignororing this legitimate use, especially if such use is known/documented at that site in advance could lead to future liability in the event of problems.

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by Jim Pullen »

Does anyone have an update on this?
I was intending including the Aire wave in the new English White Water guidebook, but if it now has a kayak mincer below it, I may need to reconsider!
Done any NE/NW rivers not on the site? PM me!

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GaryM
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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by GaryM »

Looks like they did indeed install and test one somewhere, but lots of music, no narrative as to how effective/efficient it is/was.
Not sure I'd fancy going down a weir with one of these in the way.
Also, does not look, from what little you can see from the video, like the water behind is very flat, so not suggesting high energy transfer? Nothing like as good as the old Salter's Ducks at the Dores end of Loch Ness my kids used to watch.

Gary Mascall

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by box2k2 »

Just spotted this in action on the River Aire.

It was roughly here: Google Maps

Image

Image

Image

Image

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by DaveBland »

I think I saw that on MTV on "Pimp my Canal Barge"
dave

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by JonnyHW »

So has this actually been introduced now?

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Re: Permanent Mid river Hydro Barges proposed.

Post by das bump »

Just to keep people in the loop on this. The barge was introduced and while the Aire wave still works, it effectively wiped out access to this site. It is extremely frustrating for local paddlers who have become accustomed to a large high class wave on our doorstop, although a little less clean than international examples! What is perhaps worse though is that the HEP barge has seemingly never worked since its introduction and was listing heavily last time i looked, with no turbine rotation as a result. Whether this is a design flaw or due to damage from one of the many large trees that come down at flood is unclear, although the latter always seemed a potential issue.

Very frustrating, hopefully it will either be fixed or preferably removed!

George

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