Simcoe Reformer Nov 15 2013

Potential power probed in Delhi, Simcoe

Potential power probed in Delhi, Simcoe
“GreenBug Energy: Potential power probed in Delhi, Simcoe”
Newspaper: Simcoe Reformer
Date: Friday, November 15, 2013
Author: Monte Sonnenberg

Everything old is new again

Delhi – The old raceway at Quance Park in Delhi may be harnessed again for the generation of electricity.

Green Bug Energy of Delhi is eyeing the historical structure as the potential location of an Archimedes screw turbine device.

The green energy firm also believes there is similar potential at the Culver Dam in downtown Simcoe.

Green Bug has carved out a unique niche for itself in the field of renewable energy. The company unveiled the first Archimedes screw generating station in North America last September at Fletcher’s Horse World in Townsend Centre. Green Bug’s plan is to make Norfolk a showcase for this kind of technology.

“We’re trying to create a hub here where we can manufacture and display our product,” GreenBug CEO Tony Bouk said Thursday. “We want Norfolk to be our showroom and centre of excellence.”

The Quance raceway and Culver Dam belong to Norfolk County. Green Bug’s plans were mentioned in passing at Norfolk council this week with some enthusiasm. Bouk discussed Green Bug’s proposals further with senior staff on Wednesday.

If Archimedes screws are installed in Delhi and Simcoe, they will be much larger than the device installed in Townsend Centre. A preliminary assessment of the Quance option estimates Big Creek could support a 53-kilowatt dynamo with a screw 3.1 meters in diameter.

The estimated cost of installation is $480,000. With the Ontario Power Authority paying about 14.8 cents per kilowatt hour for this form of generation, the estimated payback over 40 years is $1.94 million.

The county is interested in the Quance proposal because it is looking for a solution to the 170 foot raceway, which runs south from the Quance Dam to ta hairpin turn in Big Creek. The raceway used to feed water to an old generation station that was dismantled in the 1990s.

Staff has suggested filling in the ditch. Meanwhile, Norfolk’s Heritage Committee has been exploring ways to preserve the raceway as a relic of the county’s past.

Heritage committee chair Ross Bateman of Langton, likes Green Bug’s proposal. The raceway would have to be deepened and widened, but the the heritage committee likes the idea of returning it to its original use. The committee also likes the idea of providing input on the design of the pump house that would protect the screw from the elements.

“This is a better idea,” Bateman said Thursday. “There seems to be general agreement on that. I’m naturally attracted to the whole idea, especially considering it won’t be an eyesore.”

The proposed installation in Simcoe is smaller than the one in Delhi. Green Bug estimates the Lynn River at the foot of Water Street could support a 20-kilowatt generator with a screw 2.2 metres in diameter.

The installation would be located on the east side of the Culver Dam beside the Lynn Valley Trail and cost about $211,000 to build. The estimated return on investment over 40 years is &703,000.

If the county likes Green Bug’s proposal, the next step is to commission a more detailed analysis. This would nail down precise flow rates in Big Creek and the Lynn River. These in turn would be used to calculate refinements to the screws.

The basic auger is the design concept behind the Archimedes screw. The device was designed by the famous Greek mathematician of the same name nearly 2,300 years ago.

Primitive agrarian societies have used the Archimedes screw for centuries to move water around their plantations. When situated properly in a moving stream, the Archimedes screw will rotate continually and generate electricity.