STURGEON BAY, WI – Marine Travelift Inc. announced today that Norte Energia S/A of Brazil has received two Marine Travelift 50 BFMII mobile boat hoists and two Marine Travelift TM40 transporters to move vessels around the new Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant (Usina Hidrelétrica Belo Monte). The new facility lies on the Xingu River, a rightbank tributary of the Amazon, in northern Brazil's Pará State.
With an expected cost of $13 billion, the Belo Monte Power Plant will generate 11,233.1 megawatts, giving it the third-largest installed capacity in the world — behind China's Three Gorges Dam and the Brazilian-Paraguayan Itaipu Dam. One of the power houses at Belo Monte will generate 11,000 megawatts, while a smaller one at Pimental will generate 233.1 megawatts.
The main dam is being built at the Pimental site. When complete, it will be nearly 92 meters high and more than 1 kilometers wide. Ney Ribiero, of São Paulo-based Marine Travelift dealer Braz-Tools, said Norte Energia was looking at a variety of ideas for a boat transposition system.
It was, he noted, a complex issue. Three federal agencies were involved: IBAMA, the Brazilian equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency; FUNAI, also known as the National Indian Foundation; and ANA, Brazil's national water agency.
"All of the ideas presented were rejected due to the cost-benefit analysis or infeasibility," Ribiero explained. "So the Norte Energia engineering department started a deep search and found Marine Travelift."
According to Marcos Matias of Norte Energia, initial studies for the hydroelectric complex indicated that several Indian and non-Indian communities downstream regularly use the Xingu River for fishing and transportation. The company needed to find a way to move people and cargo around the Pimental dam structure.
"During our research, we found a solution that's commonly used in yacht clubs," Matias explained. "We visited two yacht clubs in Brazil, at Rio de Janeiro and Santos, and discovered the Marine Travelift solution. We contacted Mr. Ney Ribeiro, and we showed him what we needed."
Ribiero was invited to make a presentation to Norte Energia's board of directors, superintendents and a select group of engineers. He said it was an opportunity to showcase the Marine Travelift product line and to answer questions — and it was successful. Instead of pursuing alternatives such as an expensive lock system or a rail system that would be less flexible and less efficient, the power company decided to use Marine Travelift mobile boat hoists and transporters to move boats around the dam.
To determine their specific needs, Norte Energia worked with Brazilian consulting firm LEME Enegenharia, which highlighted the vessels' low quality and the wide variety of shapes and sizes. With that information in hand, engineers from Marine Travelift determined the best way to customize the 50 BFMII mobile boat hoists and TM40 transporters.
The company placed one Marine Travelift 50 BFMII on each side of the dam, one upstream and one downstream. When a boat needs to be moved around the dam, one mobile boat hoist hauls it, a transporter drives the boat nearly 245 meters to the second hoist, and that machine launches it.
The Marine Travelift 50 BFMIIs incorporate special winches that allow them to pick up boats that lie up to 12 meters below the launching piers. Due to the number of fragile wooden boats on the Xingu River, Marine Travelift also added special, customized spreader bars to the machines.
With these custom spreaders, the inside clear width can be increased or decreased after manufacturing, which enables operators to handle different types of vessels or fit new launch piers. This kind of customization is unique in the marketplace.
"Braz-Tools also recommended that we use more straps to embrace the boat hull," Matias added.
Another important feature on the 50 BFMIIs is Marine Travelift's wireless remote control. The wireless remote gives the operator increased visibility of the boat, launch piers and surrounding area, which improves operational safety and ensures maximum maneuverability.
To maintain consistency and provide an extra measure of efficiency and safety, the wireless remote control unit is laid out in the same format as the controls in the operator cab. And, Marine Travelift provides full mechanical back-up in the operator cab in the event of an electrical failure.
As with the mobile boat hoists, Marine Travelift also worked closely with Braz-Tools to ensure that the two transporters were appropriately modified to suit Norte Energia's needs. In addition to featuring load pressure gauges, they also were equipped with a flexible cradling system — which incorporated a special central keel beam and three-pair lateral mount — to protect the more delicate wooden vessels.
"Marine Travelift recommended the inclusion of a new piece, that central beam element, to support the boat's keel," Matias explained. "Some adjustments also were done to mitigate the risk of damage during transportation."
Matias said the technical support provided by Marine Travelift and Braz-Tools was very important to Norte Energia. He also said Norte Energia was pleased by the innovative ideas presented by the Marine Travelift team and its partners.
"They brought to our power plant project a different and important expertise," he said.
"This is the first time this solution has been adopted in a Brazilian hydroelectric power plant project, and now that the sale, design, customer approval, fabrication, transportation and erection processes are complete, we are able to say Marine Travelift was the best choice."
Indeed, the boat transposition system is a major accomplishment for Norte Energia, which hosted a major feast to celebrate its inauguration. At maximum capacity, once the Pimental dam structure is complete and river navigation resumes its usual volume, Matias said Norte Energia expects approximately 100 boats per month to use its ramps and the Marine Travelift system.
The Belo Monte hydropower complex has four installations, with an average distance of 50 kilometers between them: Pimental, site of the main dam, which is 40 kilometers from Altamira; Canal, which links the main and intermediate reservoirs; Bela Vista, with its 38 dykes; and Belo Monte, location of the main powerhouse. For more information, visit Norte Energia's online description at http://norteenergiasa.com.br/site/ingles/belo-monte/ and the Brazilian government’s downloadable three-page fact sheet at http://www.brasil.gov.br/para/press/files/fact-sheet-belo-monte.
To learn more about Norte Energia and Braz-Tools, visit http://norteenergiasa.com.br and www.braz-tools.com.br, respectively. For more information about Marine Travelift and its full range of mobile boat hoists and transporters, call (920) 743-6202, e-mail the sales team at email@example.com or visit www.marinetravelift.com.
The world's first mobile boat hoist was conceptualized and manufactured in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, in 1945. Officially established in 1954, Marine Travelift Inc. has a long-standing reputation as a marine industry leader and is recognized for its tradition of excellence on a global scale. The company manufactures mobile boat hoists, marine forklifts, self-propelled transporters and other related marine lifting products. It also has an extensive U.S. and international dealer network, with more than 3,500 units in service worldwide.
Marine Travelift Inc.
49 E. Yew St.
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235-1976