As Snug as a Bug in a Rug!!!!

Well, as you can see from the image, Archie—the heart of the hydro system has been installed in his permanent home. In last month’s newsletter we asked you all to keep fingers crossed, keep touching wood and pray for decent weather—well it worked, and The Archimedes Screw was installed in the screw channel during the first week of March.

Via our regular newsletters, social media, word of mouth and of course international media interest!!, Archie has developed quite a sizeable “Friends of Archie” fan club.

Copied below is one of the many letters Archie has received wishing him every success in his move from temporary lodgings to his permanent “Architect Designed, Executive Styled (and correspondingly expensive!!) home.”

Archie installed Congleton Hydro

Dear Archie,
We haven’t been formally introduced but Bob has told me a lot about you, so I hope that.
you will receive this greeting as from “a friend”.
We all realise that you, Archie, whose full name is Archimedes of course.
(but friends call you Archie) is the heart of the Congleton Hydro System, for without you there would be no system! We understand that very soon now, you are to be actually “installed “
with due ceremony we trust; so, fingers crossed!
I have seen photos of the “tidy up” operation, which is currently taking place, and which will, when completed, give clear access for the Engineers to “escort you “to your new home.
What a wonderful day that will be! I hope that Bob will be able to send photos of the actual moment when you & your new home are “united”.
As always with every good wish and thank you for sharing your news.

Hopefully, fans will be really enamoured with the photographic record that follows of his short but exciting relocation.

The screw, its associated trough and safety cage started their journeys via a tractor hauled low loader trailer so that we could safely transport under the 11-kilovolt overhead cable that prevented any form of moving crane lift. Once all had been safely transported under the cable, the co-ordinated “Dancing Diggers” undertook the very delicate operation of moving the trough and screw down the 12degree slope to the screw channel. The following photographs show some of the stages of this operation carried out by the great skill of the digger operators

Trough transfer from low-loader to Digger Arm for the downhill slippery journey.

The start!!!
Trough transfer from low-loader to Digger Arm for the downhill slippery journey.

Congleton Hydro Installing Archie

Will it fit?

Tough fits

Of course, it does!!

The horizontal bar and hanger at the base of the Trough is the key locator point for the bottom bearing of the Archimedes Screw essentially this is the dimensional reference for the whole installation.

The aluminium strips running the length of the Trough, are 8mm thick shims and enable the Screw to be accurately positioned. They will be removed when all is OK (hopefully!!)

Once the trough, which weighs about 6tons, was deemed to be accurately positioned, it was secured in place. Attention could then be focussed on the even more delicate operation of moving the Archimedes Screw down the slippery slope for installation into the trough. No mean task, as Archie weighs in at just over 8ton and has quite a dimensionally delicate helix structure.

Dancing Diggers
Congleton Hydro moving Archie
Archie Fits - Installing Congleton Hydro
         Top Bearing Pedestal fits where it was designed to be...Phew!

Top Bearing Pedestal fits where it was designed to be…Phew!

So, after a day’s worth of hard and nerve-racking work by all (CT construction, Derwent Hydro, Digger Drivers and of course Congleton Hydro!!) the beating heart of the system was successfully installed. Just as a reminder, the screw is angled at 30degrees and has an installed positional accuracy of +/-m 5mm.

As well as taking rucks of photographs with the superb cameras in our mobile ‘phones, we have been extremely fortunate to have had the services of a young Volunteer called Sam Friend to produce a video record of the day’s activities. As well as being highly proficient with a quality video camera, Sam expertly piloted a Drone to record some superb aerial views of the site and the installation activities.

In addition to doing the actual filming, Sam has added some audio commentaries from a couple of Congleton Hydro luminaries!! and edited the whole content into a superb documentary of the Archimedes Screw installation.

Well Done Sam—A great production— “Britain has Talent” is so true!!

Sam can be contacted via email

Sam has given us a few words to describe himself and his activities and these are captured below:

“My name is Sam Friend and I run the Congleton based videography business Friend Studios. Having a degree in ‘Music technology and Popular Music’ my creative background is primarily music based, however during more recent times my interest has grown in creating videos. Through the creation of Friend Studios, I have managed to produce a creative package that includes both my love for making music and filmmaking which can also benefit a variety independent businesses such as Reubens, Beartown Brewery and LRC 4×4. 
My creative outlet is producing videos with original music however, my fundamental passion is meditation. I have taught meditation sessions in Sheffield and during my time travelling throughout Asia and South America, and you will quite often find me sitting on a quiet bench burning incense in Congleton Park.
It was great fun to work on a community project such as Congleton Hydro and I look forward to working on more future community projects.


Instagram – @friendstudios

The installation of Archie has also made it into international media. This interesting link to a “Dutch water” website has apparently had a large number of “hits and likes”.

Read Click Here.

With the screw installed, other activities have continued apace. The 1.5metre diameter inlet pipe has now been fully installed and the welding of the joints started. The “power pack” for the hydraulic operated inlet channel sluice gate has also been installed. Piling has been “trimmed” to size along the screw channel and the hillside retaining structure. Covering all these activities would lead to a very long newsletter (including some excellent photographs) so we’ll hold over until next month. However, a major item to allow Archie to “mate” with his “controller” (gearbox and generator) has been constructed. This is the pedestal on which will be mounted the gearbox-with offset input and output shafts, coupled to the generator.

So, at long last, we are on the homeward straight. After months of being hindered, frustrated, snookered and blighted by rotten weather, horrible ground conditions and “Georgian Structures” we will this month start (and hopefully finish) the building of the powerhouse. This will be of block construction and timber clad. (Info in next month’s newsletter).

Once the powerhouse is basically constructed —walls and roof (cladding can follow if necessary) the core Electrical and Mechanical equipment ie gearbox, generator and control system cabinets can be installed. Inter unit cabling (and the most important power points for kettle and toaster!!!) implemented. (We also need to wire up and install key site monitors such as bottom bearing vibration sensor, water level sensors and the key optical sensors that monitor and control the water inlet sluice gate. This will then be followed by snagging and then commissioning, leading to hopefully trial generation during June. Of course, this is to no avail unless we have the power cable available to transmit the power!

You will maybe recall from earlier newsletters that Dutton Contractors laid the main cable run between Havannah lane and Siemens (approx.1Kilometre underground) last autumn. This left the final 90metres or so to be installed under the boardwalk.

For this to happen we need the boardwalk to be finished, Again, you will recall from past newsletters that work on the boardwalk construction has been severely impacted by the Coronavirus restrictions and especially school closure. Redfox the boardwalk company, by agreement with ourselves, focusing on being at home to be present and assist with home learning of their children. Now that schools are back, the exact route for the final section of the boardwalk has been agreed and Redfox can get on with completion. This will allow the final cable run to be installed at the end of April/beginning of May. With just some cable testing to be done (insulation, impedance etc) we will be in a position to connect both ends!!.

We’ll have a small focus on the boardwalk in a future newsletter as it is quite a magnificent structure, winding through the woodland and giving excellent views of the river, Weir and Archie, as well as providing the valuable lifeline for maintenance access.

This months “Technical Article” looks at how Congleton Hydro engages with its Investors, local community and wider audiences. We thought it might be useful for our readers to understand how we have developed our communication strategy over the past year. It may also be of value to those who might be setting up their own community activity and or charitable group.

Entitled Connecting the Community”, it can be accessed by clicking on the link.

We hope you have found this newsletter to be informative and of interest. It is intended to give you a picture of how the scheme is proceeding and the obstacles (especially the weather!) that sometimes must be overcome. We would welcome your feedback and any topics you might like to see in future issues. Please drop us a line at info@congletonhydro.co.uk

 As with the positive news in this month’s issue that the end is hopefully insight, it is really great to be seeing the growing positive news about the control of Covid and the positive impacts that the lockdown and the vaccination programme have been having. But with both programmes, we can never afford to take our eyes off the ball, so the message to all of us is:
Please Keep Alert, Take Care and Stay Safe.                               


Congleton Hydro Team
Dane Valley Community Energy Ltd (FCA Registration 7142)