Electrical Power & Protection

WEG generating electricity at Windsor Castle

December 2014 Electrical Power & Protection

A project delivered by Southeast Power Engineering of the UK has seen a mini power station installed on the River Thames at Romney Weir to generate electricity using environment-friendly, water-driven Archimedes screw generators. The completed design features two WEG W22 premium efficiency IE3 generators being driven via a gearbox to produce the electricity which now powers Windsor Castle.

The WEG units are special products for this application in the sense that they are generators based on a WEG W22 motor. When the screws need to be restarted, electricity is used, and then as the speed increases, so the motor function changes over to that of a generator. The rotation of the screw is maintained by the water which, in turn, maintains the generator speed in order to produce the electricity.

The scheme is the brainchild of David Dechambeau, managing director of Southeast Power Engineering, who has overseen every step of the design and installation process. “In order to make this project sustainable, it was essential that we select the most efficient equipment for the construction of this power station. The design called for a reliable generator with superior efficiency ratings and on balance the WEG component definitely fitted the criteria and it was straightforward to install.”

The power station has been generating electricity since the middle of 2013 and is in the final stages of completing its testing and commissioning. It comprises two Archimedes screws manufactured by Landustrie, each weighing 40 tonnes, connected to the WEG generators, which are now delivering 320 kW/h at peak flow, exceeding the original design criteria.

The generators were designed and manufactured in Portugal at WEG’s dedicated European manufacturing site. They are rated at 185 kW and produce electricity at 400 V, which is then fed via a 500 kVA transformer to an underground line that connects to Windsor Castle and to the national grid.

Efficiency was a key target for this application as the installation has a fixed ROI period. At 96% efficiency, the WEG motor/generators represented one of the best investments Southeast Power could make to ensure the six-year ROI target was met. The installation has a minimum guaranteed design life of 50 years while Southeast Power has a 40 year tenancy of the site, which means that reliability and longevity were also very important considerations. If the screws stop turning, it means a direct consequence in terms of revenue.

“This was a very important project for us, not only because we are supplying the Royal Household, but also as an initial stepping stone for a number of similar projects. It is essential that we installed the most efficient and ecologically sound power plant as possible. The work we are completing now will help to deliver future projects using similar technology as demand for sustainable power increases,” concludes Dechambeau.

For more information contact Kirsten Larkan, Zest WEG Group, +27 (0)11 723 6000, kirstenl@zest.co.za, www.zest.co.za


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