Business students at the University of East Anglia have developed plans to breathe low carbon life in to an historic Norwich mill using an ancient engineering solution to create renewable energy, money and new offices.
New Mills, Norwich
Students working on their project for the MBA in Strategic Carbon Management at Norwich Business School were given the task of developing cost effective engineering solutions to redevelop a redundant but historically important former water mill known as New Mills, on the River Wensum. The mill has been used for hundreds of years to generate different types of energy but has fallen into disrepair. The project was commissioned by Morgan Partners, a venture capital group, who are in discussions to develop the site close to the centre of Norwich.
As part of the plan for saving the mill the MBA team has recommended that the site could be transformed into a new start-up business centre for companies working in the low-carbon economy. A critical part of making the plan cost effective was to develop the energy producing potential of the site. The students advised that the solution should involve developing the hydropower potential of the mill, as well as installing solar cells and extracting heat from the river water to heat the offices.
The proposed solution does not use a conventional water wheel to generate electricity but will rely on one of the most ancient forms of technologies - an Archimedes Screw - which has traditionally been used to pump water for irrigation, but can also be used to generate electricity from flowing water. The invention of this technology is often attributed to the Greek polymath who lived in the third century BC.
Morgan Partners are currently in negotiations to finalise the agreement for use of the site. Student Stephen Young is so pleased with the results of the project that he is now hoping to put his own money in to help the plan become a reality. Stephen is not new to hydropower - when not studying for his MBA in Norwich he lives in a restored and converted textile mill in Yorkshire that also has its own hydroelectricity scheme.
Stephen said: “This is a terrific opportunity to re-energise a unique and historically significant Norwich site with proven energy generation potential. The collaborative efforts of Norwich Business School and Morgan Partners have made this project possible.”
Dr Gideon Middleton, course director for the MBA in Strategic Carbon Management said: "The course is designed to give managers the skills associated with a traditional MBA along with the knowledge they will need to help their business grow in the low-carbon economy. This project exemplifies what we are trying to teach - low carbon solutions and adapting to climate change can make money, reinvigorate parts of our community and be exciting".
The MBA Strategic Carbon Management was the first of its kind in the world when launched by UEA in 2007. The course starts in January and is available full-time in Norwich and part-time at UEA London.
For further information please visit www.carbonmba.com