Plas Newydd – How to stop your pump house floating away (and other such conversations)?

As many of you will have seen in the press yesterday the Plas Newydd Marine based heat pump project has been given the green light. This comes following an initial “We’ve had an idea” after a visit to look at the fabulous Castle Howard water based heat pumps (in the lakes) over 18 months ago.

We have been keeping you informed on our progress along the way –

In order to efficiently harvest the heat from the sea we have been investigating heat exchangers, filters, intake and discharge pipes, compressors, pump sets, and the various components required to take the heat from the Menai Strait and deliver this to the mansion where it is required.

All of this kit needs housing in a pump house which needs to be constructed close to the shoreline. During our discussions with specialist consultants and contractors one question was at the front of our minds:

“How do you stop the pump house simply floating away on a high tide?”

Following a great deal of head scratching (and a few bad jokes) we have brought together our thoughts –Pump house

The pump house itself will be set back from the edge of the causeway and now we know the actual space required to house the kit we are enlisting the services of photomontage specialists and our curators to ensure that the look of the building itself will be in keeping with the environment. In order to ensure the height of the building is kept to a minimum, high level access doors will be situated in both of the end walls. The heat exchangers themselves will be located above the potential high water level.

The Menai Strait has a wide tidal range meaning that the internal floor of the building needs to be water and wave proof in order to mitigate against high water spring tides. Due to the risk from waves the bottom sections of the structure will need to be sufficiently robust utilising a prefabricated construction of glass fibre which will be bolted down and anchored to the base.

We have sourced glass fibre reinforced pump-sets with silicon components as these pumps will be located at floor level. Similarly the strainers are stainless steel in construction.

These “How to” practical considerations are the things that I find fascinating, and the ongoing considerations for ease of maintenance and cleaning are the common sense elements that most projects tend to miss.

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2 Responses to Plas Newydd – How to stop your pump house floating away (and other such conversations)?

  1. I have been following all your excellent and good humoured blogs on the NT marine source heat pump with considerable interest, and indeed would very much like to become a member of the Marine Heat Pump Appreciation Society!

    I run a small but growing specialist renewables company in Scotland, and for a number of years have been toying with the idea of using the sea as the heat source. However, last year we decided to put this into action, and since then have undertaken a considerable amount of research into how best to achieve an efficient yet workable system; an ambition I am sure you recognise is not that straightforward. We have and are still considering both open and closed loop projects, but for our first pilot study we will be using an open source system connected to a relatively small heat pump for a domestic house. Having discussed the possibilities and technologies with various people people throughout Europe and North America, we are keen to develop systems for a wide range of properties within the UK. We see the potential in the UK which of late has hardly been the most arid place on earth (at least perversely not in the NW Highlands), to be enormous and could provide high levels of sustainable heating for very large numbers of people.

    My enquiry to you now is how we may be able to discuss and share our knowledge and experience with marine and other open water source heat pumps, and with this in mind I would very much like to get in contact with you as soon as possible. In the meantime I look forward to reading all your blogs especially those with a more watery element (membership application in post for Historic Hydro Appreciation Society too!)

    • Keith Jones says:

      Thanks for the contact. Think you left a message on the phone a while ago but I then lost! Happy to chat. Might be worth you having a chat with the RNLI as well as they have had two small systems in place for a while and developed by their engineer who is very good on the metallurgical aspect of the sea. (As you would expect) both Paul and I are in the office on Thursday if you want a chat? We also have a scoping document we could send. Performance spec is being developed and then to be reviewed by what I consider the best in the business and the guy who designed the system for Portsmouth Harbour. Happy to chat. Email

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