BSC Mill Wheel Project Update
Published 09:36 on 18 Sep 2023
We have now received both of the feasibility studies that we commissioned into our mill wheel restoration and micro-hydro power project. These were undertaken by two postgraduate students at the universities of Southampton and Cardiff and submitted as dissertations for consideration for their respective Masters degrees. Both were highly commended by their supervisors for their projects. They are to be congratulated for the in depth research they undertook, working closely with our project team.
These dissertations make fascinating reading so we have made them available in full as links below. The poster outlining his project and submitted by Tom MacFarlane, the Southampton student, is also reproduced here. Tom's detailed technical analysis clearly shows that we should aim to restore the larger 11' 11" dia. wheel, not the smaller one so that we can now go ahead and stabilise the latter by rebuilding its wooden bearing trestle in the brick wheelpit, which must also be repointed.
We strongly recommend that members who are interested in this project study them so as fully to inform themselves about the possibilities for restoration and power generation. We hope to put a proposal for consideration before the flag officers and then the full membership by the end of the year. That is if the flags consider that the project has sufficient merit, could be financially and realistically viable and within reach of our pockets.
We are currently trying to obtain realistic cost estimates for all aspects of the project and Simon Ludlum is investigating the many possibilities for electrical power generation and for grants that might be available, with the aim of making the club self-sufficient in energy for the next fifty years.
During the sailing season it has proved difficult to find volunteers to work in the wheel pit but we plan to hold one more exploratory session in October to clear away all of the silt and rubble remaining upstream of and beneath the wheel so that we understand what clearances we might have as the restored wheel will have to be moved slightly downstream and below its original position in order to clear an obstruction with a concrete beam dating from the conversion of the mill into the clubhouse.
We received nearly fifty positive responses from members to our original appeal for volunteers but we would welcome further names to add to our list from anyone who did not respond then. Should the project be approved we will need many more volunteers to work on the dismantling, removal and restoration of the wheel over the winter months.
In the meantime we shall be looking for four to six volunteers to supplement our core team for the work session planned for Sunday 22nd October at 9.00, which will be muddy and tiring but rewarding!
- Macfarlane dissertation: Water Wheels Poster
- Macfarlane dissertation: Reinstating historic water wheels to generate renewable electricity
- McKenzie dissertation: Optimsing sustainable conversion of historic watermills to hydroelectric power generation
Last updated 09:44 on 18 September 2023