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Grande Dixence reservoir and dam in Switzerland

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Keeping the hydro-energy flowing

The Grande Dixence Hydroelectric power station in Switzerland generates enough kilowatt hours of electricity to meet the average annual consumption of 400,000 household. ERIKS company Maagtechnic AG has played its part in ensuring the power stays on.

Challenge

Taking eleven years to build, the Grande Dixence dam and power station was finally commissioned in 1961. So when Maagtechnic AG was called in, the lubrication systems for the shaft bearings of the 17MW storage pump assembly were over 50 years old. Briefed to develop replacements, Maagtechnic faced the challenge of designing systems which would not only cope with the environmental conditions at 2,365m above sea level, but which also matched the mass and function of the old systems. And since a failure of the lubricant supply could result in a total machinery standstill, 100% reliability was essential.

Solution

A total of three Maagtechnic AG lubrication power packs were commissioned over a period of two years. The first of the innovative lubrication units has an oil flow rate of 220 litres per minute, and the other two a rate of 180 litres per minute. The systems are fed by a corrosion-resistant oil tank with a volume of 1,000 litres.

With the updated lubrication systems now in place, the four turbines of the plant can continue to provide a quantity of hydro-electric energy equivalent to the output of a nuclear power plant – hopefully for at least another 50 years.

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© ERIKS nv, 2017.