Hydro Systems

Over the past four decades, Dulas has worked with a range of project partners, from large developers and utilities to private landowners. We are recognised as one of the leading hydropower companies in the UK.

Our solid industry credentials mean that we can offer a host of different services across all aspects of a hydro systems project – from early planning application support and site design, right through to contractor management, installation and operations and maintenance.

Maintaining and protecting your investment

Dulas can help you to optimise all stages of your project to maintain and maximise profitability. If you have a development that you feel is not performing as it should, our expert consultants can assess your project, to ensure that it is operating to its full potential.

Additionally, Dulas can help repair hydro systems that have suffered technical failure, troubleshooting and refurbishing where necessary. As well as bringing your asset back to life, we are experts in the optimisation of systems to ensure they deliver longevity and maximise their performance.

Products & Services

AquaShear™ Coanda Screens

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Development & Consultancy

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O&M, Refurbishment & Optimisation

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Frequently asked questions about hydro power

A hydropower system converts the potential energy of water into mechanical energy in a turbine, which then drives a generator to produce electrical power. The power output is directly proportional to the difference in water pressure across the system (the ‘head’) and also to the flow rate of the water passing through it.
‘High head’ hydro schemes take water from an intake structure in a river, stream or reservoir and pipe it downhill to a powerhouse containing the turbine. The pressure in the pipeline increases as the vertical height below the intake increases, until at the powerhouse the pressure is converted into kinetic energy in a jet that makes the turbine rotate. The water is then returned to the watercourse via an outfall.

‘Low head’ hydro schemes are usually found on weirs or old mill sites, where the head is determined by the difference between upstream and downstream water levels. As the head is typically only a few metres, these schemes require relatively high flow rates to produce significant amounts of power. Traditional low head turbines make use of the pressure difference between their inlet and outlet, and can therefore also make use of suction on their downstream side. Archimedes screw turbines are increasingly common – these move ‘packets’ of water from the upstream level to the downstream level and extract the potential energy directly without any change in pressure.

Run-of-river hydro schemes use the water available in the watercourse at any given time, so will not be able to run at full power continuously and will turn off when flow rates are low.

Storage hydro schemes collect water in reservoirs, which can then be released to drive the turbines as required.  Water collected during wet periods, which would otherwise be lost, can be saved and used during dry periods, or when electricity prices are higher.

Pumped storage schemes will run a pump to refill their reservoirs when the power price is low, so they can generate when prices are high.  Large pumped storage schemes help to provide grid stability, and can be used to store excess energy from wind farms.

Planning permission and other formal licences are required prior to construction, and these ensure that the environmental impact of each scheme is minimised.  Once operational, the only significant impact will be a reduction of flows in the stretch of the watercourse between the intake and the outfall.  As with all renewable energy, if designed, installed and operated appropriately, the overall benefits from generating green energy far outweigh the minor localised impact.

We offer a full range of services for the design, implementation and operation of hydro schemes – from initial site assessment, feasibility and consenting, through full scheme design, construction and commissioning, right through to ongoing operation and maintenance services.  We also have many years’ experience of refurbishment and optimisation of existing hydro schemes.

This depends on how much water you have available to use, and how much ‘head’ is available (i.e. the height difference between where you want to take the water from a watercourse, and where you will return it).  You also need to consider what you want to do with the energy you generate.  We can assess the potential of your site so that you can decide whether it would be appropriate for your budget and requirements.

Yes – battery storage can be combined with hydropower to provide storage for local loads, or to export energy to the grid when prices are high.

Yes – water mills can often be adapted to run a generator to produce electricity.

Yes – if you contact us directly we can advise you as to what will be required to get you up and running again.  We can also advise on the best ways to maximise your generation.

Get in touch

For any hydro systems related enquiry, please use the contact form below to get in touch with one of our experts.