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Iran unveils first homemade rotor for power plants

A 82.5-megawatt rotor was unveiled during an online ceremony attended by Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

Iran has unveiled its first steam turbine rotor built by the country’s specialists for electricity generation, entering the league of five leading producers of the machine.

The 82.5-megawatt rotor was unveiled during an online ceremony attended by Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian on Tuesday, Tasnim news agency reported.

With 2,539 blades, it has been built for a nominal speed of 3,000 rotations per minute and can withstand steam temperatures of up to 510 degrees centigrade, the report said.

For its production, Iran Power Plant Repairs (IPPR) company reverse-engineered a General Electric-made rotor despite the lack of access to its construction documents, relevant drawings and the possibility of contacting the US manufacturer.

Its purchase from foreign suppliers, without factoring US sanctions and money transfer complications, would have cost Iran 900 billion rials (3 million euros) but the local manufacturer produced it with only 350 billion rials, Tasnim said.

Ardakanian said the real value is far greater than the rials being saved through the local production. “The confidence and morale that such a job creates is certainly not measurable with these numbers,” he said.

“It offers a ray of light into a secure future filled with vitality, prosperity and development not only in our country, but in the region,” he added.  

The implementation of the project manifests the high capacity of human resources in Iran, which can motivate many young students and graduates of the country’s universities and technical and vocational centers, Ardakanian said.

Iran prides itself on having the fourth largest legion of engineering graduates, where some 5 million engineers provide it a vital base to build a knowledge-based economy. 

The production of the first Iranian steam turbine could not have come at a better time, when the country is facing a possible loss of 3,000 megawatts of power on the national grid due to a 50% drop in precipitations this year, Ardakanian said.  

“This is one of the most valuable projects in ‘the year of support for production, and removal of obstacles’,” he said, referring to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s designation of the Iranian year of 1400.   

The turbine blades manufacturing project is the latest in Iran’s self-sufficiency drive which has gained momentum amid international companies’ refusal to trade with the Islamic Republic.

Power and infrastructure group Mapna, being billed as the Iranian Siemens, is the largest contractor for steam, gas and combined cycle and renewable power plants in Iran and has carried out major projects in the Middle East and beyond.  

Ardakanian said IPPR should also have an eye on the regional markets in its planning.

“These products will make Iran one of the largest producers of this industry in the world and with the increasing development of economic relations, the Iran Power Plant Repairs company and those involved in this industry in other sectors will certainly have a large market under their thumb."

Mapna Group CEO Abbas Aliabadi recently said the company has built 5,000 megawatts of thermal power plants across the world and begun manufacturing hydrogen-fueled turbines.    

“Mapna has defeated the world's greats in the power plant construction in price and quality, because it has been able to offer world-class equipment at a lower price to the international market,” he said in February.

According to Aliabadi, the company plans to manufacture 4.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbines for installation in Iranian wind farms and unveil its MGT-75 turbine that uses hydrogen for power.     

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