Our Latest Waterwheel

Our Latest Waterwheel

/ 13th February 2020 /

One of the earliest sources of mechanical energy, waterwheels are far from a new concept. Having been around for decades, the mechanical devices have served as a means of sustainable energy production across the globe.

Partnering with award winning Smith Engineering and the University of Cumbria, in 2014 Langdale became the home to a four-metre diameter hydro-electric waterwheel.


The Waterwheel

In the hope of creating a way to produce sustainable energy for developing countries, Smith Engineering designed and manufactured a high efficiency, flat pack waterwheel, able to generate up to 6kW/hr of energy via continuous waterflow of between 100 to 500 litres per second. Continuously recgnised for their commitment to sustainability and innovation, the waterwheel was a project Langdale were keen to be involved in.

Designed for an easy assemble, elements of the waterwheel can simply be lifted into place, with no need for heavy, technical machinery. With this, flat pack components, a limited amount of maintenance, and taking up to a maximum of two weeks to complete, the design offers an accessible option for rural areas, where other alternatives may be restricted.


The Prototype at Langdale

Previously operating as a Lake District gunpowder factory in the 19th century, the Langdale Estate utilised the technology of waterwheels to generate electricity for the factory, with around 14 on site. If you’ve not already guessed by the name, the Lake District has a generous supply of water. With access to a substantial amount of water, an empty wheel pit on offer, and the heritage ingrained into the Estate, Langdale was the ideal venue to host the prototype.

Situated adjacent to one of the original waterwheels, the two collaborate to create a visual timeline of the development of the technology, with front row seats provided by the outdoor seating area at Stove Restaurant & Bar.

Once installed, Smith Engineering collaborated with Dr Paddy Quinlan from the University of Cumbria to examine and monitor the efficiency of the waterwheel. With results proving positive, all parties were pleased with the findings of the research, gaining a further understanding of how waterwheels can contribute to the production of renewable energy. 

Already conscious of energy consumption prior to the installation of the waterwheel, Langdale have been a part of a variety of environmental projects in recent years, along with making changes internally. From switching to LED lightbulbs, electric vehicles where possible and installing biomass boilers to produce sustainable energy, Langdale are becoming advocates for a greener lifestyle.

It was a pleasure to work alongside such innovative, enthusiastic specialists throughout the process of the waterwheel testing. The experience was highly rewarding for all involved at Langdale, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for waterwheel technology.