Hydropower plants are a lot bigger than you might think. Today I had the opportunity to stand side by side with Slovakia’s biggest hydropower plant located on Europe’s second largest river, the Danube. Read on to find out more.
I woke up this morning bright and early, with the sun not quite out yet. Once I had packed my things for the day, I hopped in the car and my host dad drove me to a supermarket next to my school where we were supposed to meet. The morning had been a bit more brisk than I had anticipated. It was barely above freezing, although I had not really taken into consideration the fact that the bus would be nearly an hour late. Now if you ever go to Slovakia, you must know this: there is normal time, then there is Slovakia time. Depending on the scale of things, everything will be 5-10 minutes later, and in my case today, 45+ minutes late.
After nearly losing my toes and ears standing out in the cold, we went on our way to our first destination: The Gabčíkovo Hydropower Plant. Located on the Danube River, the plant produces 2,357,885 MWh annually, which accounts for 10% of Slovakia’s energy consumption. The plant operates 8 turbo-generators with 17 Kaplan turbines, which were set in the years 1992-1995. The flow of water in the turbines is a whopping 413~636 m^3.s^-1. Too long didn’t read: a metric ton (not literally) of water.
Each Kaplan turbine has a total of 4 shovels on the outer wheel, which has a diameter of 9,300mm. The turbines rotate at a respectable 68.2 revolutions per minute, which is actually quite amazing considering that each turbine weighs 1.225 metric tons (Roughly 2700lb).
The outside of the plant was very nice and cool, which was very stark in contrast to the somewhat stuffy and heated generator rooms. It is relaxing to be able to just watch the water flow out from under you, listening to the thousands of gallons of water churning.
Once we had finished our tour at the Gabčíkovo plant, we packed ourselves onto the bus again and made our way to our second stop: Čunovo Hydropower Plant. This plant is much smaller than the towering Gabčíkovo plant, but it still was interesting.
In comparison to the Gabčíkovo plant’s massive 8 turbo-generators, the Čunovo plant only had 4. The turbines were smaller at than the Gabčíkovo plant, as these were only about half the diameter, 3,710mm, and had one less shovel.
After our trip to the Čunovo plant, we made our way to our final and most anticipated destination; Bratislava. However, on our way to the city, there was slow but developing problems with the bus. I am not mechanic, but obviously the issue was that the clutch wouldn’t engage and the bus would not get into gear. This was very awkward when the bus driver went to go and reverse into a parking spot, when the bus decided to give up. Not only were we blocking traffic not back into our parking spot, when the driver went to put it in gear to move forward and out of the way the bus wouldn’t budge. After about 3 minutes of stalling the bus trying to throw it into gear, he finally got it to stick and we hobbled out of the way.
Once we had gotten to the shopping mall, we were told to come back in two hours time. After walking around for about an hour, our group of boys went outside to see if there was anything to do there. I have been holding off for a while, but it was time to reveal my true power. Gymnastics has been coursing through my veins ever since I was a young man, so it was really only a matter of time before my classmates knew who I really was.
That about sums it up for today’s post, but before I head off I want to say a few things. If you enjoy this post, or the blog as a whole, please consider sharing it. I spend roughly 30 minutes – 2 hours per post, per day, so it would mean a lot to me. You could also consider subscribing to know when I post! It’s on the right sidebar. Anyway, today’s word of the day is:
dobrú chuť – let’s eat!
Pronounced like dobru houtch, you say this before every meal!
All of these pictures were taken on a Sony A6000. If you are looking for a great lightweight camera that takes fantastic pictures, I would definitively recommend this setup here.
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens