The Oban Times - - News -

IN A new move to tackle cli­mate change and air pol­lu­tion, Ard­tor­nish Estate in Morvern has in­tro­duced an elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing point – pow­ered from its own hy­dro tur­bine.

Seen here in use for the first time, by Ard­tor­nish Estate Com­pany chair­man Den­nis Over­ton and his BMW I3 elec­tric car, the charger is able to top up an av­er­age ve­hi­cle at 22KW per hour.

It draws power from the neigh­bour­ing Archimedes screw tur­bine – an­other first for Lochaber – a low-head, high-vol­ume hy­dro scheme that pro­duces 100 kilo­watts of power from 4.4 me­tres of wa­ter pres­sure (‘head’, in the tech­ni­cal term), which pow­ers a 10-me­tre corkscrew over 2.5 me­tres wide, set at a 26- de­gree an­gle to the hor­i­zon­tal.

The scheme and charg­ing point were for­mally opened in June at Achranich, Ard­tor­nish, which now has more than 3MW of re­new- able hy­dro power, and is the largest em­ployer in the par­ish of Morvern.

Mr Over­ton said: ‘I’ve driven elec­tric for three years now, and on all my pre­vi­ous trips to Ard­tor- nish I’ve trickle charged over sev­eral hours from a nor­mal three-pin power socket be­side the estate of­fice.

‘Now I, and our other elec­tric ve­hi­cle vis­i­tors can recharge – for no cost – in a frac­tion of the time, con­fi­dent that the power we are us­ing is lo­cally-gen­er­ated and car­bon free.

‘Hy­dropower has al­ready made a huge dif­fer­ence to Ard­tor­nish, en­abling us to in­vest in a wide range of build­ing and in­fras­truc­ture im­prove­ments, pro­vid­ing lo­cal com­mu­nity ben­e­fit, more em­ploy­ment, and bet­ter job se­cu­rity. This is a log­i­cal next step – prior to us mov­ing our own estate ve­hi­cle fleet away from dirty fos­sil fu­els and over to elec­tric.’

Den­nis Over­ton charges his car.

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