Green energy is wheely good

Boiling the water for a cup of tea is literally a "run of the mill" job for Master Cutler, Professor Bill Speirs.

Prof Speirs lives in a former corn mill in Derbyshire, with a stream running through his garden, so it seemed common sense to harness the power of the water and generate some green energy by installing a water wheel.

"Fitting it in the first place was a very complicated procedure," said Prof Speirs.

"I had two major problems. One was clearing all the muck and debris which had accumulated in the water over the years – for that I called in a scuba diving team.

"The other was persuading my wife that it was a good idea. I'm not sure, even now, that I have succeeded with that one."

The wheel was designed by the Master Cutler and his neighbour, Brian Healey, to look like the original corn mill mechanism. It was then manufactured in Sheffield by Dixson Street-based Eurofab using modern materials.

"It was a very interesting project to work on," said Prof Speirs. "We had some invaluable technical advice from Paul Bromley at the Pedley Wheel Trust, a charity which specialises in this sort of thing. The on-site assembly was the most exciting part of the whole project – it was as if we were working on a giant Meccano construction kit."

The wheel generates 4kw of electricity - sufficient to power a kettle or a toaster.

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