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Flowing water is a fantastic source of renewable energy. We are often asked if small water courses are suitable for generating electricity with a micro-hydro scheme. Although it might be possible to use your stream for micro-hydro, it will cost more than you think. In fact we are increasingly finding that it more economical to extract heat from the water instead and use it to heat your home.

A stream, river or brook provides a constant replenishment of heat energy. Some of this heat can be extracted by a heat exchanger called an EnergyBlade and a ground source heat pump can then tap into this free heat energy. A single EnergyBlade in flowing water can provide about the same amount of energy as 1,200m of collector pipe in the field, so it is great option if there is no space for a traditional ground source heat pump array.

Do I need permission from the Environment Agency (EA) for an EnergyBlade?

As we are placing the EnergyBlade within the flowing water clients often ask if any permissions are required to use the EnergyBlades? Thankfully the answer is no. This is because, unlike an open-loop water source heat pump, the EnergyBlade is never physically extracting water from the source. Nor is it dumping water back into the water source once its purpose has been served. Unlike an open-loop water source heat pump, an EnergyBlade does not need consent from the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency is mainly concerned that there is no detrimental impact to navigation, flooding or wildlife on a watercourse. If installing EnergyBlades into a smaller watercourse, navigation is not normally an issue. Installing an EnergyBlade in a water course does not alter the flow so has no effect on flooding either upstream or downstream. Wildlife within the water is also unaffected as the blade is designed to sit within the flow, not prevent it. Most EnergyBlade installations are completed without the need for anchoring them to the bed of the stream or river and can be protected from floating debris by a deflector cage if required.

Flowing water is always a fantastic source of energy and an EnergyBlade solution is a great method of using this energy. Clients report savings of around 50% compared to traditional fossil fuels and the system qualifies for the same Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes as more common ground source or air source heat pump systems. As the technology is approved by the Environment Agency and consent is not needed it makes the installation process very straightforward.

If you have a flowing water course at your property please feel free to contact us to further understand its potential.

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