Over two hundred take part in Kárahnjúkar technology conference
September 24, 2007
The conference hall
Loc Home, CEO of Robbins, and Prof. Birgir Jónsson in discussion
“Contractors working on the Kárahnjúkar installation have found outstanding solutions to many difficulties that have confronted them during both the design and construction phases.” So said Brazilian fluid dynamics expert Professor Bela Petry during a technology conference about the Kárahnjúkar installation held last week.
Prof. Petry was involved in the hydrodynamic design of the headrace tunnel and the design of the spillway and bottom outlet of the Kárahnjúkar dam. He also monitored simulations of the project in Switzerland and Austria, where studies were made into the best design of the dam’s spillway, and how to deal with the complex changes in pressure in the headrace tunnel when the turbines are stopped. Prof. Petry was full of praise for the solutions found to these demanding issues.
A total of 220 participants attended the conference in the Grand Hotel, including 50 guests from abroad. The foreign participants were delighted with the event and said that it was unusual to be able to find so much information in one place about almost every aspect of the construction project.
The designers and constructors of the installation were very pleased to have the opportunity to become better acquainted with each other’s roles in this complex construction project.
The first day of the conference covered research issues, design of the dam and its construction. Day two saw discussions concerning a number of subjects, including the design of the headrace tunnels and waterways, design and construction of the powerhouse in Fljótsdalur, technical equipment, switching stations and transmission lines, environmental monitoring, Landsvirkjun and Alcoa á Austurlandi’s sustainable developments, public relations and other issues.
Richard Graham, Impregilo’s Technical Director, said that it might be possible to name dams that have been just as difficult to get to grips with as the Kárahnjúkar dam. However, circumstances on the Kárahnjúkar site made the Icelandic construction project unique. He mentioned the weather, short daylight time and communications in this respect, and said that the Italian contractor had not expected snow to have such a profound effect for 7-8 months of the year. Experience has shown that there are only four months free from snow to the north of the Vatnajökull glacier. Impregilo responded to weather challenges by erecting tents over the sites where work was taking place, and pumping hot air into them so that concreting could be carried out all year round, except during the worst blizzards. Mr Graham applauded the company’s workforce for its performance in these conditions. Impregilo had over 1,300 men on site when work was at its height, including representatives from 42 different countries.
Many of those addressing the conference mentioned how successful solutions had been found to complex problems presented by the project. Speakers also drew attention to the many innovations that were used for the first time during construction. A number of unique technological solutions had been employed on the site.