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Successful installation and operation of Chacabuquito´s Sediment Removal Equipment, Chile

This year SediCon provided the first Sediment Removal Equipment operated from a travel crane for Chacabuquito Hydropower plant.

Chacabuquito is a Chilean run of river hydropower plant located in Los Andes, V Region, Valparaiso, which uses discharge from Los Quilos Hydropower Plant (Colorado and Aconcagua rivers). Chacabuquito began operations on 2002 and it has an installed capacity of 25.7 MW with a flow of 21 m3/s and net head of 137 m.  This is the first hydropower plant in the world transferring CO2 emission credits under the Clean Development Mechanism.

During snow melting season, the forebay is filled with sediment, mostly silt and clay, which produced loss in electric generation capacity because sediments blocked the penstock intake and damaged turbines due to abrasion. They used suction pumps to clean the entire forebay in a three-day maneuver that it was required to schedule several times during this season.

Chacabuquito was our first installation in Chile and it was completed in March 2017. This SediCon Equipment was the first Sediment Removal Equipment operated from a travel crane installed in the world, it has a nominal capacity to remove 20 m3/h of sediment but during Site Acceptance Test the capacity reached to 30 m3/h.

This equipment consist in a patented suction head with a combination of flexible and rigid pipes able to carry sediment over spillway wall and discharge them on a flushing channel. The travel crane allows a remote operation with transversal, longitudinal and vertical movement in a cleaning zone of 32 m long, 5 m wide and down to 9 m deep. The Sediment Removal Equipment improves the cleaning process, avoiding stops in production and thus improving efficiency in energy production. This is an environmental friendly solution for an environmental friendly project.