EATON SOCON HYDRO

A view of the River Great Ouse and the VETT installation site.

Installation on the first commercial VETT began in January 2018. Successfully operating since, the 26kW low head system is located between two nature reserves on the River Great Ouse at Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire, UK. 

 

VerdErg Renewable Energy designed this hydro scheme for Eaton Socon Hydro Limited to exploit the 1.4 m gross head (1.2m net) between the marina and mill pond through a disused underground culvert.

 

The VETT supplies electricity to an adjacent restaurant with excess exported to the grid. Local carbon emissions are reduced by 35t annually with enough electricity generated for 22 homes. 

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Artist’s impression of VETT hydro scheme at Eaton Socon.

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The installed VETT is located underneath decking, seen to the right of this photograph. The VETT operates silently and out of sight, submerged underneath the waterline. 

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Restoration of the existing culvert that feeds the turbine chamber

Key design criteria ensured the VETT unit was integrated into the existing infrastructure of the Grade II listed mill that sits above it, preserving the historic and leisure amenity of the site. The underground culverts VETT is located within were originally used for hydropower production up until the mid-20th century. 

 

The historic mill is now home to pub and restaurant The River Mill. The VETT is installed under the pub's outside decking, out of sight.

The scheme is designed to be installed and operated in a way that protects the juvenile coarse fish nursery areas in the marina and mill pond and to accommodate eel passage, as specified in stakeholder discussions with the Environment Agency. 

Previous live trials already showcased VETT’s safe fish passage credentials. In addition, careful eel passage design opened up this stretch of water to migrating eels.

The River Great Ouse is a navigable stretch of river which is also prone to flooding. It was important to coordinate the management of water levels by the Environment Agency’s sluice at Eynesbury Weir with VerdErg's hydro scheme.

 

A control system and an operating approach agreed with the Environment Agency ensures that the hydrological parameters can be real-time monitored to achieve this.

After the feasibility and detailed design phase in 2017, all regulatory consents were received by January 2018 and Greenford Ltd was appointed to undertake the civil construction phase of the build.

Video: installation the VETT

3,500 litres of water are flowing through the VerdErg VETT pipework per second. 

The VETT is made out of glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and is relatively lightweight.

 

Originally it was envisaged to assemble the pipe sections in situ in a dry cofferdam. After review, the contractor assembled the pipe on site first and lifted it into place in one long piece.

 

Once the VETT was installed and final civil works completed the turbine with secondary pipe was installed.

The whole system is installed underneath decking used by customers of the adjacent pub.

 

In order to install the turbine, a section of the decking was lifted out, the turbine dropped in, and the lid closed again.

Video: the VETT's unique hydro system handles 3,500 litres of water per sound with a turbine that is only 440 mm in diameter, and is completely invisible and silent.

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The site before construction began.

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The site after installation, with improved appearance and new space created for the pub to utilise for seating.

VerdErg's VETT low head hydro system at Eaton Socon reduces carbon emissions in the area by 35t per year and generates enough electricity to power 22 homes. A proportion of electricity supplies the River Mill pub with excess exported to the grid.

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