Work starts on project to build state-of-the-art generator that will create green energy site

Deputy mayor Colin Maslen being shown around the site by Lars Boerner, operations director of VerdEr

Deputy mayor Colin Maslen being shown around the site by Lars Boerner, operations director of VerdErg Ltd and Jennifer Gomez-Molina. - Credit: Archant

Work on a state-of-the-art project to create a water-powered generator at the River Mill pub, in Eaton Socon, has begun.

A scheme, developed by VerdErg Renewable Energy. will see the company’s Venturi-Enhanced Turbine Technology (VETT) installation housed under the water at the rear of the pub and restaurant.

The River Mill project will act as a pilot for much larger schemes that will eventually use tidal power to produce energy.

Eaton Socon councillor and deputy mayor, Colin Maslen, has visited the site and met with the builders who are working on the foundations for the installation “This is such an exciting project - it has put Eaton Socon on the map,” he said.

“This is the first VETT Hydro installation in the world and we are privileged that it is being sited here. It is amazing to think that the River Mill will be a green energy site and returning to the days when the mill was powered by water.”

The man behind the project is Doug Barnes, who lives at the Mill House with his wife Collette, and the couple own and run the pub, restaurant and the marina site. Mr Barnes spoke to The Hunts Post in 2013 to outline his plans to install an Archimedean water screw to generate power, but later opted for the VETT technology.

A public exhibition, with plans and drawings explaining the technology, and the history of the old mill, which was built in 1847 and used a water turbine for operation, has been set up in the pub.

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“It has generated a lot of interest and the exhibition in the pub is proving really popular,” said Mrs Barnes.

“It’s amazing how many people have a connection with the site and work has now started in earnest.”

The design makes use of the Venturi effect, named after the 18th century Italian physicist Daniel Bernoulli Venturi who discovered that when a liquid passed through a constricted tube, the liquid accelerated and its pressure dropped. The effect has been used in a number of ways, probably most commonly in the carburettor of a car.

The current technology is the work of Peter Roberts, a semi-retired British naval architect and engineer, who spent 10 years developing his ideas, which were tested and developed further by the BHR Group at the Cranfield University campus.

The VETT will be located under the water and will include an eel pass and may, in time, be used to assist with ecological studies.