15.00 Thursday 15 June

LED there be gas

by Chris Angell BSc CEng MIET and Jonathan Skill BSc

Amey PLC has recently completed the core investment programme for Sheffield PFI. 

One of the challenges for Amey was the inclusion of about 30 famous listed sewer lanterns and lighting columns distributed throughout the city that were in varying stages of decay. Not only were the columns listed but the residents were fiercely protective of their architectural history and in some cases, had taken charge of the asset themselves. 

So, what’s the problem then? Replacement lanterns and a lick of paint should do the trick.

Unfortunately, there was no available electrical supply to most of the columns as most of them were connected to the gas grid, about three still worked. 

Though the lighting designs did not rely on the sewer lanterns for light distribution, some vociferous residents had been misinformed that they were going to be replaced with modern LED lanterns and naturally were very concerned as to their impact on the environment. 

The costs and associated disruption of connecting electricity supplies to some architecturally sensitive areas together with gas supply company’s concerns in maintaining a safe supply on the street meant an innovative approach had to be taken.  This project was originally given to the Electrical Engineering faculty of Sheffield University who were unable to develop a workable solution. Jonathan Skill of Amey then approached Pudsey Diamond Engineering Ltd to see whether their recently solar bollard technology could be adapted and incorporated into the sewer gas lantern to allow the lanterns to be in light. 

This was a very significant challenge. English Heritage were concerned that the exterior of the lanterns were not to be altered and further, the lanterns were to be reworked where possible, repaired and not replaced with replicas. 

The authors of this paper will explore the significant challenges presented with the audience and demonstrate how leading edge technology of 3D printed gas mantles combined with LED modules driven from innovative and unique solar capture units with energy storage using lithium iron batteries within the lantern allowed this project to be delivered to the satisfaction of English Heritage and the residents of Sheffield. 


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