Visiting the waterwheel at Aberdulais
Aberdulais is home to the largest electricity generating overshot waterwheel in Europe, and has stood the test of time for more than 400 years. When in operation, you can gaze at the power of nature in all its glory and experience an updated version of old-fashioned green energy. The waterwheel is currently undergoing maintenance and will not be turning for the foreseeable future.
Europe's largest electricity generating waterwheel
Built by students and apprentices of British Steel at Port Talbot, this is the largest electricity-generating wheel in Europe, with a diameter of almost 27 feet (8.2m). It has 72 buckets and rotates five times per minute.
The waterwheel sits in the original wheel pit and a flywheel would have transmitted rotary power to the rollers of the Victorian tinplate work, where two wheels operated side by side.
The technical bit
A three-stage gearbox steps up the speed to enable the shaft-mounted generator to produce up to 20kw of electricity. On an average day, approximately 100-120kw of electricity is generated.
It was installed in 1991, when hydro-electric schemes of this type were relatively rare. The tradition of innovation at Aberdulais continues to this day.
An energy-generating turbine
The waterwheel is not the whole energy generating story. We also have our own turbine, with a generating capacity of 200kw. This supplies power to the National Grid - enough to provide electricity to most of the neighbourhood.
The waterfall at Aberdulais truly is a force of nature. Whether it's a torrent or a trickle, it always looks beautiful. Discover more about its historic past and what to see during your visit.
Discover how Aberdulais Tinworks and Waterfall has been at the heart of Welsh industry when a German engineer chose it as a secret location for smelting copper.