Wednesday 17 October 2012

Shackelton Hydroelectric Plant

Anna Liffey Weir at Shackelton Mill (2.5m head)
I had the opportunity lately to visit the old Shackelton Mill. The site is owned by Fingal Coco and I am part of a team working on an EU project promoting renewable energy across North West Europe. See

Old Milling Floor
The old flour mill was purchased by Fingal coco in 2002, having ceased production in 1998. The site sits on top of a weir at the river Liffey. There are five floors of vintage mill machinery driven by hydro-mechanical power.  The intention is to open the heritage site to visitors and develop it as an amenity and to use the power for on-site consumption. The site is used occasionally for film and TV production. A site description and professional photos of the interior are available at IARC website .

There are 3 hydro-turbines on-site. All were installed >50 years ago and not in operation.  It is a low-head site of 2.5m.  Flow in the Liffey has diminished over time due to increased use to supply the city water which reduces the potential output of the hydro plant.

Flywheel and Generator above Turbine
The largest turbine was chosen by the council for refurbishment. The theoretical output is 55kW, but probably only 30kW in reality due to low flow and efficiency considerations. It is a Jonval turbine, a predecessor to the Francis-type reaction turbine, with a vertical axis and set in a pentrough over the tail race channel.
The turbine can be switched to drive mechanical equipment in the building above or to create power via a clutch. The turbine is at present being re-commissioned and automated by Fiacc O’Brolchain of Water Power Services.

45kW Heat-dump for Electrical Brake
A new hydraulic sluice control has been installed for the 2 sluice gates. Also a new electrical brake failsafe mechanism has been installed which is connected to 45kW of electric heaters to allow power dumping.


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