Latest News | 15 August 2022

Mills site secures cash to return to hydro power

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Cromford Mills, which was once home to the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill, is set to return to hydro power.

The historic site, built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1771, has secured £330,000 to install a water source heat pump – supplied by Vaillant – and state-of-the-art hydro-turbine at the mills.

It comes after The Arkwright Society, which works to conserve the UNESCO World Heritage Site, secured planning permission earlier this year to reinstate a water wheel at the mills.

The £330,000 needed to make the project a reality has come from Derbyshire County Council, which awarded £133,000 through its Green Entrepreneur Scheme, and Severn Trent Water.

The funding will pay for the installation of the turbine, generating 15kW of electricity, as well as a waterwheel, which will replicate one of the original waterwheels and produce 1kW of energy.

The water source heat pump being supplied by Vaillant, will be used to provide heat and power to one of the buildings on site.

Work on the scheme is expected to start next month – and it hoped it will be fully operational by June next year.

When the project is completed, it will be exhibited as an example of a green initiative to educate people about renewable energy sources.

Until about 1790, Sir Richard Arkwright developed the mills, warehouses and workshops, which now form the Cromford Mills site.

His invention of the water frame to spin cotton transformed the manufacture of cotton into England’s major industry and created a system of factory production that spread throughout the world.

But in later years, the mills were almost lost as new buildings and a reliance on fossil fuel became the norm.

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