Jones Bros reinvents ancient Greek techniques for Scottish hydropower scheme20th Apr 2015

Civil engineering leaders Jones Bros is reinventing a feat of ancient Greek engineering as the company embarks on its latest hydropower project in the Highlands.

Engineers will use an Archimedean screw to generate electricity from a river at the 4,000-acre Brahan estate.

While traditionally an Archimedean screw has been used to lift water to higher levels, the technique being applied for this hydropower scheme reverses the process by enabling water to enter the screw at the top of the structure. The weight of the water pushes on its blades allowing the water to fall to the lower level and causing the screw to rotate.

An electrical generator, connected to the main shaft of the screw, can then extract the rotational energy created. Electricity generated will be fed into the National Grid.

The contract adds to an extensive portfolio of renewable energy projects in Scotland and follows the successful completion of a hydropower project at Allt Gruiniche in Argyll and Bute.

Mike O’Connor, regional manager for Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK in Scotland, said: “This is a very exciting project and will be the first time we have adapted and applied this type of innovative technology. It will enhance our expertise still further as we continue to win new contracts in Scotland.”

The 27-week Brahan estate hydropower project, located 15 miles north of Inverness, also involves the building of a cofferdam, a structure that retains water and soil, allowing the enclosed area to be pumped out and excavated dry.

Founded in the 1950s and employing almost 350 people, Jones Bros works on contracts in various sectors including the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence and renewable energy projects around the UK.