In Paraná, Brazil’s largest hydroelectric plant will undergo a deep renovation.
Since the Itaipu plant began operating in 1984, the machines themselves have ensured energy production – today, for 8% of the Brazilian population.
Old buttons, with signs of time: Systems and equipment are designed to last 30 years, but have been in operation for almost 40 years. Most of the parts were imported from countries such as Germany, France and the United States, but many suppliers are no more than that.
“It’s a mill that reaches a certain age. It’s the same thing that happens with our cars, for example. At first, if you need a piece, it’s very easy to get. Then, as the car gets older, it gets harder. The same thing happens. Exactly, not only in Itaipu, but in any factory,” says Ruggiero Piccoli, Executive Director of the Technology Modernization Plan Management Committee.
The modernization project started thinking 10 years ago, by technicians from our factory. On Friday (29), Itaipu signed the contract with the consortium that will provide the service. Expectations indicate that the replacement of old machines with newer ones will begin within a month.
“In addition to the characteristics of the plant equipment being very specific, we have the size of our plant. It is a different size that really sets us apart from the more traditional solutions on the market. In addition, we are having a hard time doing an upgrade with the plant running,” explains Bruno Marins Fontes, Associate Superintendent of Engineering.
According to Itaipu, a full system update should take 14 years and cost nearly R$4 billion. In a sector of more than one kilometer, for example, all wires, panels and electronic boards will be replaced by digital devices.
It is the largest investment since the establishment of Itaipu. 10 tons of electrical steel tubes and 50 tons of steel trays will be used.
In the control center, the heart of the plant, some equipment has already been changed in 2019. The digital panels that determine the status of each turbine, for the time being, are next to the old machines, where the information is in the color of only a lamp.
In all, 2,000 panels will be updated. The turbines and generators will not be replaced now, because the life span is longer.
Even with renovation, the plant continues to function normally. According to Itaipu, the Upgrading the system will not affect the amount of energy produced, but it will reduce the risk of failure and breakdown affecting the distribution.
“We cannot stop producing energy, we intend to continue to meet the full demand of Brazilian and Paraguayan consumers. Therefore, we have to carry out this modernization little by little,” Rogerio Piccoli highlights.
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