The Hydro Ness hydroelectric generation project was developed as part of The Highland Council's response to the growing need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, in particular, emissions associated with electricity production.
Beyond that fundamental goal, the project also seeks to create a forum for cultivating an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) among local school children.
A key feature of the project was the requirement to provide an architecturally striking canopy structure to house the hydroelectric generators and associated equipment. The original concept for the canopy had been created by local artist, Claire Maclean, and subsequently developed by Inverness architect, Les Hutt. Working on behalf of project developer and main contractor, Hydro NI - Bradley & Company JV, the canopy geometry definition, structural design, detailing, and fabrication model development was completed by Hasson Engineering Solutions Limited. The eventual design sought to respect Claire's original concept, be worthy of its location beside the banks of the mythical and beautiful River Ness, and, be capable of safe and efficient fabrication and erection. Quite the challenge!
Artists concept brought to life
The canopy structure presented significant challenges in defining its geometry, both locally and globally, and considerable use was made of parametric modelling methods to achieve the doubly-curved, faceted form proposed in the artist's concept. Tekla Structures was fundamental to the success of the detailing and fabrication of the steel frame and stainless steel cladding facets. The ability to define blended circular and elliptical forms was absolutely essential and allowed early engagement with the Client and Architect so that the evolving form of the structure could be reviewed in detail.
One of the most powerful - and labour saving - techniques was the use of custom components, specifically written to automate the definition and execution of countless perforations in the cladding panels. The powerful programming features with these components allowed for parametric definition of the perforations and full control of their size, number, and distribution within every panel. Needless to say, Trimble Connect played an indispensable role in supporting fabrication and erection by M. Hasson & Sons Ltd. and CDM Site Services Ltd., as well as facilitating close coordination with precast concrete specialists, Moore Concrete products Ltd.
Important points or benefits:
- The canopy structure consists of 386 mostly unique faceted cladding panels, atop a galvanised steel structure incorporating almost 5,000 bolts and fixings.
- Nobody has yet counted the number of perforations included in the cladding panels!
- The twin Archimedes screws at the heart of the hydroelectric plant are designed to generate approximately half a million kWh per annum.