Ruari McCallion highlights a number of manufacturing projects across the British Isles, all if which have environmental sustainability very much at their heart.
TGV Hydro designs and installs micro hydro-electric power supply systems that enable small businesses – including upland farmers – to declare independence from the grid and obtain their own low-cost, reliable electricity supplies.
TGV specialises in sub-100kW systems, which need a small weir or a head of water from 20-30m up to 140-180m away.
The company is based in Crickhowell, in Mid-Wales, and has focused its efforts primarily in Wales itself, although it has recently branched out to supply international customers in England, in Shropshire and the Lake District.
The turbine is manufactured by Hydrolite Ltd, of Swansea, and can fit comfortably inside a shed.
On a larger, but still human scale, Saunders Energy has just launched PowerFrame, a micro in stream water turbine that is designed to be installed in rivers or close-to-shore tidal areas.
The company was established in 2011 and the product has been developed and tested with support from Littlehampton Harbour Board.
Managing director Alan Saunders said that the company has deliberately focused on creating a small machine that can also be sold in multiples, but can also satisfy a one-off sale through to large, multi-MW installations.
Bigger is better?
Going much further up the scale, the Swansea Bay Tidal Barrage project was granted planning permission in June this year.
It will (upon completion) be the world’s first, man-made, energy-generating lagoon.
It will have a 320MW installed capacity and 14 hours of reliable generation every day, based on the Swansea Bay average tidal range during spring tides of 8.5m.
The electricity generated by the scheme would power more than 155,000 homes and save over 236,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.
Not everyone is a fan; fisheries upstream from the Bay are concerned for their livelihoods, for example, but the companies behind the project say that they have prepared conservation, restocking and biodiversity programmes.
Make it better
Packaging manufacturer and supplier Duo UK has launched DuoGreen, which is designed to help companies create sustainable, environmentally low impact, packaging solutions.
It is made of Green PE, a polythene that uses sugarcane, rather than oil, as its base substance. Duo says that GreenPE offers the same properties, performance, and versatility of polyethylene from fossil origin.
Dearman recently officially opened its new Clean Cold and Power Technology Centre.
It now houses the company’s R&D activities, which are focused on the delivery of a range of zero-emission cold and power technologies.
Dearman is working on applications of its technology for use in transportation, the built environment and logistics.
All of these applications use the Dearman engine, which is powered by the expansion of liquid air to provide clean cooling and power.
Start-up company Vantage Power’s B320 hybrid powertrain retrofits to existing buses and is claimed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 40%; about £20,000 per year in fuel costs for a double decker bus.
Vehicles fitted with the powertrain are significantly quieter than traditional buses and they don’t need to be plugged in at night. No change is required to depot infrastructure or duty cycles.