GGB self-lubricating HPM hydro bearings and HPF hydropower bearings specified for the belo monte project

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Belo Monte Hydropower

Brazil’s Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam is a complex of dams, numerous dykes and a series of canals supplying two different power stations with water.

With a rated capacity of 11,233 MW, it will be the country’s second largest and the world’s third-largest hydropower generating station, behind China’s Three Gorges and Brazil’s Itaipu installations.

Maintenance-Free Hydro Bearings with Proven Performance Results

GGB Bearing Technology was selected to supply self-lubricating, fiber reinforced composite HPM hydro bearings and HPF® bearing segments for the Belo Monte Project, based on test results approved by Norte Energia. The bearings were tested to determine their suitability for extended wicket gate service at the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant. The project required a reliable, water and debris resistant material able to withstand the harsh 24-hour operating conditions at the dam with a minimum service life of 20 years.

Powertech Labs conducted the testing in accordance with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers specifications. Testing conditions simulated the actual operating environment of the Belo Monte dam, including the use of water from the Xingu River where it is being constructed.

The bearings were subjected to tests modified to simulate 30 years of operation rather than the standard 8 years.

The bearings performed exceptionally well, passing the dry testing conditions with minimal evidence of operating stress. With construction commencing in 2014, a contract was awarded to GGB for seven power-generating units. In addition, GGB will also supply GGB-DB™ bronze bearings for 18 segment gates at the Belo Monte dam.

Significantly, it was demonstrated that the coefficient of friction and wear rate decrease as running time increases, allowing the project engineers to design the turbines with smaller servomotors. Engineers now use the essential data provided from testing when specifying self-lubricating bearings in hydropower turbines to achieve longer service life and maintenance-free operation.

Custom Bearing Solutions for Hydropower Applications

GGB’s HPF® and HPM materials were specifically developed for hydropower applications, providing maintenance-free operation with no additional lubrication required. Consisting of a fiberglass-reinforced, epoxy resin support layer and a sliding layer of polyester fibers with PTFE and other additives, HPF® and HPM® hydro bearings are compliant with EU RoHS directives and offer many advantages, including excellent resistance to impact and corrosion, high static and dynamic load capacity, 75% lower weight than equivalent size metallic bearings and extended service life.

Related links:

  • Powertech Labs: Serving electrical power utilities, electrical and automotive equipment manufacturers, and oil and gas companies, by meeting the complex and changing needs of global customers.
  • Norte Energia: The Belo Monte Dam Complex.
  • RoHS: The Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive.

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