CIE visit to Esk Valley Hydro Project

Cleveland Institution of Engineers
3 Aug 2016
Esk Valley Hydro generator

On a fine evening in June, the CIE visited a community hydroelectric scheme on the river Esk at Ruswarp near Whitby.  An Archimedes screw generates up to 50kW electricity, making use of a drop in river level at a 19th century wear.  The river is tidal up to the wear, which was constructed to maintain water levels upstream.  The project was commissioned on 12th December 2012, and saves 77 tonnes of carbon per year by providing electricity for 48 typical homes via the National Grid.  The project is very community based, and was funded by a community share issue, and a mixture of grants and loans.  Local schoolchildren held a competition to name the Archimedes screw, and the winning name was “Eureka!”.  The visit started with a presentation in Ruswarp village hall, and then a walk along the riverbank to view the installation itself.  The photo graphs show the screw in operation, and members viewing this through the door in the housing.  There is a fish pass at the side of the installation, although Archimedes screws are the most fish friendly turbines available, and fish can pass down them unharmed should they get through the trash screen.  The screw itself is 2.9metres diameter, weighs 12 tonnes and turns at 6 to 27 revolutions per minute.  The whole scheme is automatically controlled so that as the water level difference varies with the tide, the screw will switch off when there is insufficient head, and start up again when it has increased.

The CIE would like to thank Whitby Esk Energy for their time and hospitality which made this a most interesting visit.  Community Engineering at its best!  If you want to help maintain or improve the turbine, or just want to get involved, please contact  Website :-

Further photos are downloadable.

Documents for download: 
Image icon IMG_4951.JPG2.54 MB
Image icon IMG_4954.JPG2.54 MB
Image icon IMG_4942.JPG1.95 MB