Most people would have the basic understanding that when speaking about hydroelectric energy, it is in reference to the production of electricity through the use of flowing water. How is this actually achieved though? Fundamental to the entire process is a robust, efficient and relatively simple piece of machinery – the screw turbine.

As its name suggests, the screw turbine is shaped like a corkscrew. Running water flows through the spiralled structure, causing the turbine to rotate and this turning motion is essentially what produces electricity.

Where Are Screw Turbines Best Used?

Screw turbines work most effectively when installed in a riverway where the water is running from slightly higher ground, to slightly lower ground (low head/high flow). The structure is positioned at an angle so that water flowing downstream enters the corkscrew shape, travels down through the spiralling blades, and causes the turbine to turn and create energy. The water then runs off at the end of the screw and back into the river. The amount of energy which can be produced is largely determined by the speed and strength of the water flow and also by the diameter of the turbine in place.

Innovative Design

Whilst the design of the screw turbine is incredibly effective, the blades do rotate at a relatively low speed. One innovation which maximises the efficiency of screw turbine hydro power systems, has been the implementation of an assisting gearbox. The gearbox ‘receives’ the energy produced by the rotating turbine, and then significantly boosts the speed that it outputs to a spinning cog at the other end. The resulting mechanical energy that is produced by this rapidly turning cog is then converted by a generator into consumable electrical energy. This enhancement of the system drastically increases the amount of energy created by the entire process, and makes an already fantastic design even better.

The Benefits Of Screw Turbines

Some of the many benefits of screw turbine hydro power include:

  • It is essentially an unlimited, renewable energy source. Provided that there is a suitable body of water and uninterrupted flow, this system can produce continuous power for the life of the turbine
  • Screw turbine hydro power is an incredibly clean and environmentally friendly method of producing energy. The water supply is not contaminated, and the spiral design and slow rotation of screw turbines is renowned for being gentle on aquatic life
  • The screw turbine is installed within a type of trench, and this enclosure effectively serves to both protect the machinery, and maximise efficiency by reducing water loss/spillage due to splashing.

Why Hallidays?

Hallidays Hydropower International are industry leaders in the field of screw turbine systems.

We have invested significant amounts of money into Research and Development, as we continuously strive to optimise the technology whilst minimisinginstallation and maintenance costs.

We are experts in all phases of the process, from conducting feasibility studies, designing systems, assisting to obtain the necessary licensing, installation and maintenance and  are more than happy to assist clients with any or all of these stages.

After installation, we offer emergency callout service, training, remote monitoring, and ongoing performance enhancements. Get in touch with our hydropower team at Hallidays on +44(0)330 1335 505 or hydro@hallidays.com for any assistance.