The British Hydropower Association (BHA) unveiled the victors of the BHA Awards at its Annual Dinner during the Annual Conference this week.

Historic Renovation Category: New Lanark Mills, Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd

Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd emerged victorious in the Historic Renovation category for their exceptional work on the restoration of a 1931 Bovin twin runner Francis turbine at New Lanark Mills, Glasgow – a UNESCO World Heritage site. Employing cutting-edge techniques such as 3D scanning, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Gilkes not only reversed engineered the runner geometry but also modernized key elements of the design with contemporary materials. This meticulous process resulted in enhanced turbine performance and durability, seamlessly blending historical authenticity with operational efficiency. Overcoming numerous challenges with ingenuity, Gilkes successfully completed the full refurbishment, removal, and installation of the 90-year-old turbine within the confines of an 18th Century building in 2022.

Services to Industry Category: Jon Needle

A self-taught hydro engineer, Jon Needle played a pivotal role during the dormant period of the UK hydro industry in the 1980s. As the industry awoke in the 1990s, Needle became a go-to expert, offering advice and expertise garnered through hands-on experience, hard work, and a deep understanding of the intricate relationships between water dynamics, turbine machinery, electricity, and software algorithms. Needle's contributions have left an indelible mark on the hydropower landscape.

Design and Innovation Category: VerdErg Renewable Energy

The spotlight in the Design and Innovation category fell on VerdErg Renewable Energy, headquartered in Cambridgeshire, for their project employing the VETT hydro turbine technology. The VETT hydro turbine was utilized in a pioneering hydro scheme for Eaton Socon Hydro Limited. This innovative project harnessed the small head between a marina and a mill pond through a disused underground culvert. Impressively, the VETT hydro turbine was installed beneath decking used by customers of an adjacent pub. The system reduces carbon emissions by 35 tons annually, generating enough electricity to power 22 homes. Notably, excess electricity supplies the adjacent River Mill pub, with surplus power exported to the grid. 

Image courtesy of the British Hydropower Association