World's largest ship lift is in the Yangtze
Engineering

World’s largest ship lift is in the Yangtze, China (22 y/o project)

A further superlative has the largest hydropower plant in the Earth of the gigantic Three Gorges dam of the Yangtze River in China: In the new boat lift, passenger ships deal with a height of 113 m in the largest lift system in the world. German engineering companies were involved in the development.

The Chinese mammoth project, started 22 years ago in the three gorges region on the Yangtze River in central China, has been completed recently. The final part of the 2.3 km long dam, which includes already a 18 GW hydroelectric power plant and a lock, has recorded the official trial operation. This has been the world’s largest ship lift in operation and will certainly especially for ship passengers who overcome the dam in this gigantic lift, to the attraction.

Ships need 40 minutes to overcome difference

The ship Chamber of the lift has a 120 m long, 18 m deep water basin wide and 3.5 m. The Chamber, their mechanics and water weigh a total of 15,500 tonnes, the lifting height is 113 m. A total of 33,000 t dimensions are moved in the world’s largest ship lift.

Also the adjacent staircase locks with two units from each of five locks, which went into operation in 2003, is the largest in the world. The new boat lift that takes advantage of all modern systems this type of counterweights to balance the weight of the trough and of the vessel, is a supplement for this.

It will promote mainly small and medium-sized passenger ships with up to 3,000 tons displacement. While the cargo ships in the lock need three to four hours to cope with the difference in height, the elevator ride in the new lift for passenger ships will take approximately 40 minutes of net time 22 minutes.

Lift with 37 m lifting height

To the development of the new ship lift and the related technical challenges, the Builder, the China three gorges Corporation (CTG) in 2004 with German engineering companies in a joint venture had teamed up. Were involved in the following years Lahmeyer International and a cancer + pine international, as well as the Federal Agency for construction of water with a feasibility study.

Both companies already had experience in the construction of ship elevators – if not of this magnitude. They had developed the technical basics and planning for the ship lift Niederfinow North in the Havel Canal.

The new boat lift is currently under construction and is intended to replace the smaller neighboring system that exists there since 1934, at the latest from 2025. Here, however, only a relatively low height difference is overcome by 37 m.

Jangte dam is located in a seismically active zone

In China, another challenge was added also, in addition to the extreme height of lift and trough dimensions. Because the entire project in a seismically active zone, earthquake measurements had to be carried out. According to the Chinese standard for hydraulic structures the new lifting unit had to can withstand (strong) an earthquake of level VI on the twelve-part Mercalli.

Already, researchers warn that press so huge reservoirs such as the 600 km-long Three Gorges dam with large forces on the ground, that they can trigger even earthquakes.

In addition to the pure strain from the moving masses in a quake, the waves, resulting in the trough, must be considered in the calculations. The plant was eventually built from 2008 to 2013 by Chinese companies. The first operation tests had been completed in July 2016.

These are the ten largest hydroelectric power stations in the world. On rank 1? The Yangtze River with the three Gorges Dam.