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Iran joins water turbine manufacturers club

A hydro power generation turbine shaft.

Iran has fully designed, engineered and constructed a water turbine for the first time, etching a niche in the renewable energy industry. 

The country relies on imports for vital parts of hydro power plants which make up 10,000 megawatts or 14% of Iran’s overall energy mix.

Iranian engineers have now successfully tested the first homemade water turbine and a governor at a 10-megawatt power station built on the Azad Dam in the Iranian Kurdestan, the Tasnim news agency reported.

A governor is another vital device used to regulate the speed of a turbomachine.

“The turbines of the Azad power plant are of the Francis type with a vertical axis and nominal rotation of 1,000 revolutions per minute,” Managing Director of Iran Water and Power Resources Development Company Mohammad Reza Rezazadeh said.

Francis turbines are by far the most commonly used type of turbine characterized by its optimal efficiency and high speed ranges.  

Last April, Deputy Energy Minister Houshang Falahatian said Iran had built a 25-megawatt gas turbine, joining a select club of world countries owning the technology.

Iran has stepped up use of gas-fired plants to replace thermal facilities which generate 85% of power in Iran. Last year, it fed 50 billion cubic meters of gas into its power plants, up from 36 billion cubic meters.      

A thermal power plant in Iran. 

The country has also embarked on a push to add 5,000 megawatts of renewable wind and solar power to its grid by 2018. According to state officials, projects for 1,300 megawatts are either underway or have been signed.

On Thursday, the Mehr news agency quoted a Suzlon Energy executive as saying that the Indian company, one of the world’s leading wind turbine suppliers, was competing with Germany’s Siemens for renewable energy projects in Iran.

“Iran has a very large capacity to generate electricity from wind energy. Suzlon is willing to cooperate with the Iranian energy industry in a joint investment framework or on supply of know-how, technology, turbines and equipment when sanctions are lifted,” it quoted Himan Shukari as saying.

Executives of India’s biggest energy, power and petrochemical companies are currently in Tehran to explore investment opportunities in the wake of the recent opening in Iran’s trade environment. 

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