Voith ships massive turbine runner to Brazil’s 11,200-MW Belo Monte hydropower plant

Voith Hydro has shipped the largest runner ever produced at its manufacturing plant in Manaus, Brazil, as work continues on the 11,200-MW Belo Monte hydroelectric plant.

The 8.5-meter-tall runner has a diameter of five meters, Voith said, and weighs 320 tons. The unit was transported less than 20 kilometers by truck before being loaded onto a heavy-duty barge for an 890-kilometer journey down the Xingu River.

“Our new manufacturing plant in Manaus is a strategic location, since it is the geographic center of a region with several hydropower projects, planned or in progress,” Voith Hydro Latin America president and CEO Marcos Blumer said.

Voith is one of several global manufacturing companies selected by developer Norte Energia of Brazil to provide equipment for Belo Monte, with Alstom and Andritz also named in a February 2011 report.

HydroWorld.com reported last September that steel and mining firm ArcelorMittal had committed to supplying 50,000 tons of steel for the project.

Budgeted at US$26 billion, Belo Monte is being built on the Xingu River in Brazil’s northern Para State and will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric complex when completed. Belo Monte has a completion deadline of 2018, though developer Norte Energia filed a request for a construction extension this past June. A federal court rejected a request in July from from a public prosecutor to suspend work on the project because Norte Energia was accused of failing to consult properly with aboriginal groups potentially affected by Belo Monte.

Voith Hydro said the plant is now expected to be commissioned in 2019.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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