The dam Ingula, in South Africa, is one of the international projects in which Pipe Masters has been involved. Located on the border between the provinces of KwaZulu Natal and Free State, this hydroelectric power station is an example of how the construction of a dam can have an ecological concern.
The plant was built in a humid place, where there is an important ecosystem. This includes a huge variety of plants, indigenous pastures, birds (some in danger of extinction) and mammals. Since the beginning of the project, there has been a constant concern with the protection and maintenance of this ecosystem.
The largest hydroelectric pumped storage facility in Africa
The Ingula dam works on a Pumped Storage Scheme. So far, it is the largest of its kind in the African continent.
In this type of dams, there are two water reservoirs: one upper and one lower. In the case of Ingula, the connection between both is made by water tunnels with 4.6 km in length. In the upper reservoir, electricity is produced. At the end of this process, the water is not sent to the river, but reserved in the lower reservoir. Whenever there is a need to produce more energy, it is sent to the superior one, thanks to the use of a reversible turbine.
With this system, it’s possible to reuse the water. This factor is essential, especially when there is little water available in the dam. This is because it creates an almost endless energy production cycle.
The role of Pipe Masters in the construction of the Ingula dam
The participation of Pipe Masters in the construction of the Ingula dam results from the collaboration with the international partner Voith Hydro. As a company specialized in the field of metal-mechanics, it was responsible for the assembly and pre-fabrication of pipes. It also produced several metal structures.
The knowledge and experience in the welding aspect provided speed and quality to the process of creation and assembly of the various materials needed for the work.
During the months it was involved, Pipe Masters carried out various types of interventions in various sectors. Rui Silva, responsible for Project Supervision and Work Monitoring, highlights some examples:
- In the generator cooler network, it has created stainless steel pipes with diameters from 8 to ½ inches;
- In the network of fires and chillers, it produced carbon steel piping with diameters from 4 to ½ inches;
- Created aluminum pipes (conductors that connect the generator to the transformer – Bus Duct), with diameters of 400 mm for conductive lines and 900 mm for the outer pipes (enclosure).
In addition to the production and assembly of these materials, Pipe Masters also provided all the technical and logistic support to the partner and customer Voith Hydro.
Would you like to see other works we’ve been involved in? Download for free our ebook in which we explain in detail the planning, assembly and execution of projects for RADAG, COSMO and UNICER customers!