New equipment continues arriving at the Saratovskaya HPP for rehabilitation of unique hydropower units within the scope of the HPP technical upgrading programme.
On 1 April, 7 trucks arrived at the hydropower plant carrying parts for horizontal bulb turbine (HBT) No. 23 (bulb with a throughput column, bulb sectors, upper pass shaft, compensator, blocks, thrust bearing shoe support). Delivery of this equipment constituted one of the stages in the large-scale project to rehabilitate two unique horizontal bulb turbines No. 22 and No. 23 at the Saratovskaya HPP (2005–2012).
Since 2008, an agreement has been signed and is being implemented for manufacture and supply of turbines, generators and HBT control systems for the Saratovskaya HPP between JSC RusHydro and JSC Power Machines (St. Petersburg). Hydropower units upgrading is one of the biggest investment projects of the Saratovskaya HPP. The full cost of rehabilitating the generating equipment of section No. 23 of the HPP building, including design, installation and start-up of the horizontal bulb turbines, will amount to some 3 billion roubles. The new horizontal bulb turbines have a fundamentally different design, providing for higher water resources use efficiency and a lower environmental impact. In addition, the installed capacity of each horizontal bulb turbine will go up by 20 % (from 45 to 54 MW), for they are the most powerful turbines of this type in the world.
Since the beginning of this year, about 35 flat and open-top wagons and 30 trucks have arrived at the HPP carrying turbine and generator equipment manufactured for horizontal bulb turbine No. 23 at the production affiliates of JSC Power Machines.
With the help of gantry cranes, the components are offloaded on to the left-bank assembly site and then removed to storage facilities, specifically the HPP premises on the right bank. The equipment is unloaded by the HBT upgrading general contractor — JSC Turboremont-VKK, Balakovo, under supervision by Saratovskaya HPP specialists. These hydropower units are among the biggest horizontal bulb turbines in the world, so the weight and dimensions of the arriving multi-ton components are quite considerable. The thrust bearing shoe support, for instance, weighs almost 30 tons; the over 6 m long sectors of the bulb units — 23 to 26 tons, and the upper passage shaft is 11 m long.
The chief engineer of the Saratovskaya HPP, representatives of the contractor organisations Turboremont-VKK and LLC Montazhenergo are taking part at the Leningrad Metal Works in acceptance testing of the last major component of horizontal bulb turbine No. 23 — the distributor. Under the agreement with JSC Power Machines, the quality control programme with respect to the works performed envisages participation by representatives of the customer during performance of particularly important technological operations. Earlier, at the end of 2009, the Balakovo hydropower engineers already participated at the Leningrad Metal Works in integrated testing of the turbine and its rotor wheel. During the testing, control is exercised of assembly quality, availability of certificates for the materials used in manufacture and a number of other characteristics, and hydraulic pressure testing is carried out. If all the parameters of the distributor comply with the design parameters and both the customer and the manufacturer provide a positive opinion, this equipment will be delivered to the Saratovskaya HPP by April 2010. Assembly of this equipment will be launched after the high water has passed, in the summer of 2010, while preparatory work is already under way.
In 2010–2011, it is planned to install and start up hydropower unit No. 23 and, in 2011-2012, horizontal bulb turbine No. 22.
When they were first built (in 1970), the horizontal bulb turbines of the Saratovskaya HPP were the world's most powerful turbines of this type (with an installed capacity of 45 MW each), and had the widest-diameter rotor wheels — 7.5 m. These were the first models of hydropower units of this type in the USSR and were installed as industrial prototypes. After 35 years in operation at the Saratovskaya HPP, both units were switched off in 2005 for upgrading.