Complex Product Development Model

An Entrepreneurial Engineer’s Holiday

My wife was driving our motorhome, and I was the codriver. Stop, stop, I shouted to her, but it was brutal traffic and too late to suddenly stop. Finally, after a kilometer, I convinced my wife to stop and turn around with the motorhome. Here it is, stop here, I shouted again on the way back. My wife looked at me, a bit accusingly – is this worth stopping for.

I admit, vacationing with an entrepreneurial engineer may be a bit challenging. I understand I have not the quite ordinary feeling for a tourist destination, but how can one just drive by such a remarkable piece, like a giant water turbine thrown out on the roadside.

This picture is from our vacation in Norway when we passed the Nore I hydroelectric power plant close to Rødberg. Norway has a lot of mountains with lakes and rivers at high altitudes. It has long been very accessible for construction vehicles, resulting in the development of hydroelectricity started very early in the industrial era. Here, water is lead from the mountains in eight big pipes; see the small inset picture. The resulting high water pressure is sprayed on the turbine blades in the valley level’s power hall. Each pipe sprays water on two connected turbine wheels connected by a common axis to a generator delivering 25 megawatts of electricity. The power plant has eight generators, thus delivering around 200 megawatts. Compare this to, say, 15 kilowatts of power needed by an ordinary family house (including electricity warming); this power plant may feed around 12 000 homes.

The water turbine in the photo was installed already 1928, but the power plant was recently renovated, and the old turbines were exchanged. Nice for me that one turbine was saved as a tourist attraction, which made me googling and calculating for hours. As an old Japanese saying goes, “one day without learning anything new is a lost day.”

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