River Wear power: New Freeman’s Reach centre to be powered by hydroelectricity

A 13-metre long, 20-tonne Archimedean screw was lifted of a low-loader at the new Freeman's Reach development in Durham and lowered into place as part of facility to generate hydro-electric power to the new development.'A workman pictured preparing the lifting brackets.
A 13-metre long, 20-tonne Archimedean screw was lifted of a low-loader at the new Freeman's Reach development in Durham and lowered into place as part of facility to generate hydro-electric power to the new development.'A workman pictured preparing the lifting brackets.
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A DEVELOPMENT has taken a turn as it makes efforts to generate its own power.

Freeman’s Reach in Durham City is on course to become the UK’s first city centre development to incorporate a hydro power generator after a 13-metre long Archimedean Screw was hoisted into place yesterday.

The 20 tonne screw will harvest energy from the River Wear as it drives a 100kw generator, supplying 75 per cent of the power needed for the site.

The screw was installed as part of a carefully co-ordinated operation between the Freeman’s Reach development team and Durham County Council and will begin to run in the autumn.

The project, designed and built by water treatment and power specialist Spaans Babcock, will also improve the ecology of the river as it includes a fish pass, which will allow fish and young eels to travel upstream.

It been designed to generate energy 24 hours a day, giving the site a top energy rating.

The turbine will continue the legacy of hydro-power generation at the site, which dates back more than 800 years to the original medieval Bishop’s Mill, and also saw a 1930s turbine power the ice rink on the land.

Bosses say the screw will become a visitor attraction in its own right, as is the Energy Centre, which will feature a public art installation charting the history of energy generation there.

It will become the new home of National Savings & Investment and Her Majesty’s Passport Office and will open up this part of the riverside to visitors for the first time in generations.

The scheme also includes cafes and restaurants and a new tree-lined walk along the riverside.

Freeman’s Reach is being developed by a consortium of Carillion Developments, part of Carillion plc, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP.

Neil McMillan, director of Carillion Developments, said: “We are pleased to have been able to continue a long tradition of energy generation at Freeman Reach, this 21st Century technology will harness the power of the River Wear for many years to come.

“The Archimedean screw is a really impressive sight and, coupled with the public art installation at the new Energy Centre, they will surely add to Durham City’s rich variety of visitor attractions.”

Allan Cook, managing director of Arlington Real Estate, said: “The hydro-turbine is a great example of the innovative methods we are employing in order to achieve the highest possible standards of sustainability in this very important location.”

“I can’t think of a better place to showcase the UK’s first hydro-powered city centre development than here in Durham.”