A spherical valve manufactured by Voith Hydro's manufacturing plant in China has completed a cross-border journey to Portugal, where it will be installed at the 383-MW Frades 2 pumped-storage hydro plant.
The valve was shipped by boat from Shanghai via Rottendam in the Netherlands to Portuguese port city Lexos. From Lexos, the valve was shipped by truck to the Braga region of northern Portugal.
"Our biggest challenge in getting a just-in-time delivery of such a large component in the first place was coordinating the interfaces between the various carriers and everyone else involved in the transport on the journey from China to Europe," said Stephan Pfeuffer, head of shipping at Voith Hydro's headquarters in Heidenheim, Germany.
The company said it took two days to navigate the 40-meter-long, 5-meter-high load along the last leg of its journey, with its special truck required to drive at a walking pace for the last 25 kilometers.
"That only works with detailed planning and close consultation with the freight company and local authorities," Pfeuffer said, adding that the entire shipping time took about two months. "Ultimately, the success of the transport operation hangs on just a few centimeters."
The 170-tonne component is one of two that will control flows through the Frades 2 plant's pair of reversible pump turbines.
HydroWorld.com reported in April 2012 that GE Energy was to supply variable-speed power conversion technologies for use at the project.
Frades 2 is being built on the left bank of the Cavado River in by Energias de Portugal (EDP) in an effort to help regulate the consistency of the country's power supply. The plant is intended to complement the existing Frades 1 and Villa Nova facilities.
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