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Archimedean Screw Hydropower Turbine Installation – River Thames

The proposal to create a triple Archimedean screw, micro-hydropower scheme on the River Thames presented a unique challenge for the acoustic consultancy team at Sound Solution Consultants.

The hydropower development was proposed near to a hotel complex and various residential dwellings that overlook the River Thames and development proposal. The environmental problem to overcome, was planned coexistence of a noise-generating, renewable energy development in a noise sensitive area. The scale of the proposed installation was larger than that commonly seen for this type of renewable energy technology.

The services provided for the project started with a noise impact assessment for planning; liaising with the Local Planning Authority to understand and address concerns over noise impacts from the proposal. Access was granted by the client to obtain data from a similar installation along the River Thames, that was used within noise modelling to illustrate the acoustic effect of the development in the local environment.

The sound from Archimedean screw turbines is relatively unique in that, a proportion of energy relates to a mechanical element (e.g. a generator) at the top of the system but a significant proportion of sound relates to water movement through the screw system.

On the basis that the mechanical element of the scheme would be suitably abated, by means of an adequately ventilated enclosure; the Environmental Health Department were accepting of the development proposal which subsequently gained planning approval without noise objections. Further design was however required to detail the scheme prior to installation.

“Water noise (i.e. noise from water passing over the screw): No adverse comment. Generator / mechanical Noise: … to achieve the implied protection from noise a detailed final specification is required and given that a small air gap can dramatically reduce sound attenuation properties of an enclosure careful installation and ongoing maintenance are essential.”

Following development approval, detailed design work was undertaken with the hydropower design team to assist conditional sign-off as to ensure a low-noise, renewable development.

Various innovative and technical, mitigating design approaches have been proposed on this scheme that set a precedent for low-noise, micro-hydro development.

River Thames Sound testing
River Thames Turbine Installation Sound testing

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What our clients say

Also want to say how great the guys were on Friday; on time, polite, professional, efficient in their work and very friendly. All in all, everyone at Sound Solution has been spot on in their approach, efficiency and service. As a customer it is both refreshing and welcome! Long may it continue.

Richmond Resident

I spoke to you last Friday, Thank you very much for your advice and spending your valuable time. I am pleased with your quality because you are not a person who crushes the client with making things up for business, you are a person who looks after clients well ethical manner by giving correct and best possible advice even it does not earn financial value for you. I wish you wealthy and health better successful future ahead.


I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and your team for all the extra help you have given me in dealing with my rather sensitive issue of noise transmission to my downstairs neighbour. It has been invaluable. In recognition, I have made a £50 donation to the charity: Action on Hearing Loss.

Jodi Riches - Client

Have worked with Sound Solution for the last 7 years and have found them to be very professional and excellent at their work. Always happy to provide me with advice pre and post purchasing new buildings and during development projects. We have worked on various scale of projects and so far have found nothing that phases them. The reports are well written, clear and easy to follow. A great asset to our extended team.

Sanjeev Bhamm, Pelham Associates

We are delighted to work with SCC Ltd in resolving the ever more complex requirements for careful acoustic design. Their knowledge coupled with a helpful approach assists us in delivering tailored solutions which fit within our design constraints.

Chris Parsons, Parsons Whittley

We have been working with Sound Solutions for a few years now, as they offer a professional and consistent service. They are always happy to respond to site-based questions and are quick to reply to emails and phone calls. It is reassuring to our clients that they provide both the specification prior to construction and test on completion.

Ben Harvey - Architect, Liam Russell Architects

We have worked with Mark and the team at Sound Solutions for many years and have always been very happy with their professional service and first-rate advice. I have personally recommended them to many other clients.