This is an off-topic post about a possible Renewable Energy project in Haute Vienne (F) for a student of hydro power engineering. If you are still looking for a project to do your thesis on or have any useful feedback, contact me or add comments below.
Renewable energy is one of the most important problems to solve for the 21st century. Clean energy is likely to come from a number of sources, solar, wind and water. In time this will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels that are rapidly running out and suspected to have an adverse effect on our climate.
In rural France there are hundreds of derelict water mills crying out to be restored and to be given a new lease of life producing clean energy.
The ‘Moulin de Guenant’ on the Gartempe River in the Haute-Vienne is a perfect example. Here are the remains of the old mill structure with the diagonal weir and he run of the mill intact. Millions of gallons of water are rushing through it every day, from which energy could be harvested and fed to the nearby EDF network cable traversing the river and supplying electricity to local communities.
Location pictures and Flow in cubic meters per second per month
Source : Station hydrologique : Montmorillon
– calculated over 54 years-(1955-2008)
Why is this source of cheap and clean energy currently under-utilized and how your project could make a difference?
Water mills like this were used for a number of industrial processes like milling flour, breweries and tanneries in the region. Cheap energy and changing industrial policy meant industry like this migrated away from the river banks to new industrial areas and are now powered by cheap electricity from the EDF network. In some old riverside industrial complexes, the building housing the water turbine is the only one still functioning. Most mill owners do not have the financial means to transform their property in this way. Hence the mills become derelict and nature slowly takes over as can be seen on the photo above.
What’s different now and what is the economic opportunity?
Rising energy prices and the need to reduce carbon emissions under EU agreements mean that renewable energy today is a very attractive proposition. Yet most mill owners still lack the economic means and incentive to restore their riverside properties. Banks would be reluctant to lend the necessary funds, unless there was a feasibility study including an updated design and costs benefits analysis available in the form of a turn-key proposal with an X financial return over Y years. Government subsidies may be available to complement the business case or ensure safe passage of migrating fish and kayaking tourists . This is where your project comes in to complete the picture.
Your project in a nutshell
As a hydro power engineering student requiring a thesis project to complete your course degree, you would undertake to study the local topology of a typical watermill in France (Moulin de Guénant) and make a design to generate electricity using the latest advances in efficient turbine design. While out on field work, you will stay for free in our holiday accommodation and can expect to be fed and watered and be given any support you need locally. The report of all this work will be your final thesis to be agreed with your academic sponsor at your university.
In cooperation with a possible partner (another business studies student perhaps?) or the project sponsor (an actual business studies graduate) you will produce a number of documents (appendix A,B,C, etc.), that together with an environmental impact analysis, would satisfy the local planning authorities to give actual planning permission for the work. As a second step a financial investor (e.g. a bank) could be approached to finance actual engineering work to be undertaken. Note the goal is to build this thing for real and to make some money out of it! An ideal outcome of the project would be to make this project repeatable, creating real job opportunities for young engineers, while investing in a sustainable energy future for Europe and developing nations anywhere.
For further information contact:
Phone : +33555 60 79 18
Mob France +33 645 276833