Saunders Energy launches the UK’s first micro in-stream water turbine


Saunders Energy launches the UK’s first micro in-stream water turbine to provide local electricity generation. Power Frame is simple to deploy, robust, low cost and suited for use in both rivers and close-to-shore tidal areas

Today Saunders Energy Limited launches PowerFrame, the first, small, environmentally friendly water turbine of this type to generate electricity that can be easily installed and maintained for a fraction of the price of any other equivalent water turbine available in the UK.

The micro in-stream technology provides a local source of electricity when installed in rivers or close-to-shore tidal areas that can either be used to power business operations directly, or can generate electricity to be sold back to the National Grid providing a source of income.

The water turbine is fixed below the surface of the water and generates electricity as water flows either way through it.  The faster the water flows the more electricity it generates.  PowerFrame is efficient and is intended for use in water flowing at 3 knots (1.6 m/s) or more.  At this water speed the device gives a payback which is competitive with other renewable systems.

The cost of an installed PowerFrame unit will vary from site to site when installation, planning and other associated costs are considered.

“Clients will benefit by reducing their carbon footprint but there is also the financial advantage that the cost of the PowerFrame can be paid off between six to ten years. For local authorities it moves spend from the revenue budget to the capital budget – as revenue spend is increasingly under pressure.” explains Alan Saunders, Managing Director, Saunders Energy Limited.

The cost of installing a PowerFrame is in reach of those organisations with access to water front locations that would like to generate renewable energy for their own consumption or sell the energy back to the National Grid at a Feed In Tariff rate to generate income.

Potential users of PowerFrame include county councils, harbour and port authorities, waterside businesses, utility companies, yacht clubs, pier and marina owners, ‘green’ businesses and community co-operatives.

PowerFrame has been developed and tested over the last 5 years with support from Littlehampton Harbour Board including computer simulations, the use of scale models, engineering analysis and testing a full size prototype.  In addition market surveys and feedback from potential customers and organisations such as the Environment Agency have influenced the design. These machines will be more reliable, cost less to buy and are much easier to maintain. The CO2 generated during manufacture is paid back within a few months in a typical installation.