19 June 2000

Motioning a Table

One of the world’s great tourist attractions is the 1085 m Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1929, a cable car system was opened to provide an easy route to the top. In 1997, new cars were introduced, which had revolving floors, allowing passengers a 360° view. The system has a cable length of 1200 m, and is one of the longest in the southern hemisphere, rising from an altitude of 302 m to 1067 m.

When the standby genset at the top of the mountain broke down, a replacement was required urgently. Scania South Africa provided a DC9 with a standby rating of 300 kVA at 1500 rpm.

Delivery of the genset was carried out in a spectacular fashion, with a helicopter lifting the genset into position. There were several difficulties involved in the lift. These included the fact that the region is subject to frequent strong, gusting winds. This gave a real danger of the set crashing into the station building or adjacent rock face as it was lifted into place.

To solve this, the installers had to carefully select a day in which the wind was low.

The problem posed by the wind was exacerbated by the fact that the area available to land the genset was extremely limited. This required skilled helicopter piloting, with the genset having to be slowly inched into position.

Remote power in Manitoba

Canadian power utility Manitoba Hydro has recently installed a new diesel power plant in Brochet, Manitoba. The plant provides 2.6 MWe from three Caterpillar gensets. There are two 3512B gensets, each rated at 1015 kW and one 3508B genset, rated at 600 kW.

The plant was built in response to community developments in Brochet, with a population of 830, in northwest Manitoba. The plant replaces the former 1175 kW plant. The new plant was located further away from the community to reduce noise, but closer to the airport for convenient access.

The plant has a diesel fuel tank farm consisting of thirty 50 000 l fuel tanks, with a total capacity of nearly 400 000 gallons of diesel fuel, a two year supply. Fuel is shipped in once a year by truck via the winter road, the sole throughfare to the plant.

A key factor to selection of the Caterpillar gensets was fuel efficiency. Manitoba Hydro carried out a 10-year life cycle analysis. The analysis indicated that the chosen gensets would, under these circumstances, would consume less fuel and require less frequent maintenance with 30 000 hour overhauls.

GE Energy Rentals expands

GE Energy Rentals, a unit of GE Power Systems, will add Jenbacher natural gas recirpocating engines to its portfolio of rental power products.

The Jenbacher engine model joining the GE Energy Rentals family has a rated power output of 1000 kW. These engines will be available by summer 2000.

Caribbean orders

MAN B&W has won a number of orders for diesel power plants in the Caribbean. These include a 28 MWe power plant for Bermuda, a 25 MWe power plant extension on Grand Caymans, and a 95 MWe power plant for the Dominican Republic.

The 95 MWe plant for the Dominican Republic will be built in La Vega, halfway between the capital Santo Domingo and the tourist attraction of Puerto Plata. The power plant will have five 18V 48/60 four-stroke engines, worth DM90 million, with the assistance of Unión Fenosa. MAN B&W is responsible for the turnkey delivery and assembly of the power plant components, including the fuel storage tanks. Unión Fenosa will build the power plant.

The plant is due to start commercial operation by October 2000.

New 1500 rpm genset

Caterpillar has introduced a 1500 rpm version of its 3406E diesel genset.

The 3406E genset combines the 3406E ATAAC electronic engine with ADEM II controls and the SR4B generator. At 50 Hz, the new package is rated 450-500 kVA standby and 410-455 kVA prime. At 60 Hz, the package is rated at 450 kVA standby and 410 kVA prime. The 3406E genset gives 10 per cent better fuel economy, along with improved motor starting capability, increased reliability and durability.

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