In April 2011 VerdErg Renewable Energy was awarded a grant from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to test a full scale SMEC prototype at the Cowens Ltd facility located at Ellers Mill, Dalston. A proportion of the grant was allocated for further laboratory tank testing at BHR Group, Cranfield.
The project will prove that the results from the laboratory tests can be recreated in the field. The prototype is a major development milestone for SMEC, paving the way for the first commercial projects.
The prototype will be located at an old spillway on a disused Industrial Revolution era leat which, in the past, powered Ellers Mill. The spillway has a 2.8 m head drop across it, taking all the flow through the device. Initially, the prototype will have a simulated turbine and will be tested for hydrodynamic performance.
A small turbine will later be added to provide a demonstration that the device is able to produce power. An independent 3rd party Certification Agency will witness the laboratory and prototype trials to ensure the accuracy of the recorded results. The project is set to conclude in the Summer of 2012