Alimak Hek

Alimak has provided three construction hoists for the construction of three 140m (450in) solar receivers / boiler towers at the Ivanpah Solar Generating Facility in the Mohave Desert, which is the world’s largest solar thermal power plant currently in operation.

The Alimak machines, which have a payload of 3,200kg (7,100 lbs) and a lifting height of 140m, provided efficient vertical access for both men and materials on the site during the construction.

The company worked with Bechtel Power and Bechtel Equipment to perform an engineering evaluation, which resulted in the Alimak Scando 650 FC 32/32 II system being chosen for project.

Travelling at 54m/min (177fpm), the hoists have a 1.5m-wide x 3.2m-long x 2.3m-high car size and a 3,200kg (7,100 lbs) capacity which was more than sufficient to transport site workers and bulky palletised materials to working height.

Alimak machines were anchored to structural steel at approximately 12m (40ft) intervals and the mast was allowed to extend above the deck by 12m to allow for access when the modular components were hoisted. The strength of the Alimak mast made this possible.

Alimak hoists were chosen because of their proven reliability to operate in harsh environments, removing some of the risk that Bechtel had to manage to install and start up this new technology.

The project is located in Ivanpah Dry Lake, California, US, on more than 1,600ha (4,000 acres). The station will produce 390MW of electricity for more than 140,000 customers of Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison, by using over 173,500 software controlled heliostats (mirrors) that will track the sun in two dimensions and reflect sunlight to the three boilers that sit atop the almost 140m (450ft)-tall towers. The high temperature steam will then be piped from the boilers to a turbine were electricity is generated.

Image: Alimak hoists on a solar tower. Photo: courtesy of Alimak Hek.