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Protecting water-based power generation

Protecting water-based power generation


A case study of how booms increase efficiency for power generation.

The largest hydroelectric scheme in southern Africa, located in Mozambique, has partnered with us to provide debris booms to maintain the hydropower plant.

The plant, operated by Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa, provides the majority of the energy to Mozambique’s national grid, which makes maintenance essential in order to prevent disruptions to the country’s energy supplies.

Water impounded behind the 170m high Cahora Bassa Dam stretches 280km upstream and is subject to severe fluctuations in levels due to rainfall and other weather conditions.

As a result, the plant has been experiencing ongoing operational problems with waterborne debris overwhelming the existing boom, which has been in place and could not hold the debris back.

Bolina Debris Booms are able to prevent materials such as plastic, invasive plant life or wood from accumulating and blocking the dam, as well as preventing damage to the dam itself.

Damage to the dam can occur as a result of heavy floating objects being carried at speed on the surface of the lake impacting the dam’s structure and consequently weakening it. Furthermore, obstructions to the dam’s sluice gate due to debris accumulation will reduce its capacity to channel water, in turn reducing the dam’s efficiency, which will eventually necessitate cleaning and removal of obstructions and cause disruption to the dam’s supply and operation – further increasing maintenance costs.

To overcome these issues and increase reliability of the installation, we utilised our LSB600 Log Screen Booms, tested over 60-tonnes. It incorporates a subsurface mesh joined together to provide a seamless barrier for logs and debris with full articulation provided between units.

The unique tubular backbone of this boom system and the Bolina lug connections make the boom immensely strong without stressing the floats, which are fully demountable with the booms designed for continuous motion and heavy loads.

Cahora Bassa gate to allow boats to enter
Cahora Bassa gate to allow boats to enter

A total of 380m of booms were shipped from the UK in containers to Cahora Bassa, together with a gate assembly designed by our team. The gate was included to allow the passage of maintenance boats either side of the boom and is the largest that we have constructed to date.

The work was supervised by our field engineers but undertaken by local workers employed by the power company using readily available hand tools.

Construction of the booms on site was completed and were towed in place and secured in position.

The Bolina Log Screen Booms capture and divert much more debris than the previous product and have increased operational efficiency of the plant and reduced the need for maintenance team to clear debris from around the intakes.

We provide a number of protective products to prevent damage to water based energy products such as hydropower dams, marine power operations, marine solar farms and offshore wind turbines. Both provide products and services at every stage of the development lifecycle, from development and infrastructure, to operation and maintenance ensuring energy generating infrastructure efficiency.



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How Bolina products help hydro assets
Bolina Log Screen Booms: Highly effective tools to manage risk

Bolina trials new cost-effective, high-strength debris boom