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Invisible but real...

Stathelle. Expensive and unsightly cooling towers were absolutely ruled out for the design of the Terga power plant in Algeria. Given its location near the coast, the alternative source of cooling for the power plant’s heat exchangers would be a continuous flow of seawater. But how could a pipeline deliver this seawater in a way that was really cost effective? Civil engineers turned to Geocean of France and Pipelife in Norway to provide an ingenious solution to this challenge.                                     
Parallel minds
Since 1973, Pipelife has been making large diameter HDPE pipes from its production site directly on the shore of a fjord. At that time we were one of the first to produce a ø1600 mm pipe, and then in 2004 we were the first in the world to produce a ø2000 mm PE pipe. From there, long lengths of large pipes are floated then towed by tugboat to supply major   infrastructure projects around the world. Examples include pipes for sewer
outfall, desalination plant and fish farming.

Orascom Construction industries from Egypt were responsible for the Terga building and plant engineering design. Final client was SONATRACH, the Algerian Oil Company. However, Pipelife worked closely with the French marine contracting company of Geocan as immediate customer.
According to Trygve Blomster, export manager for Pipelife in Norway, interest in this floating technology was expressed by Geocan at an early stage: "They calculated that five large parallel seawater intakes with a diameter of 2,000 mm could provide the required capacity. A total of 3790 metres of PE pipe would thus be required."                             

"Pipelife had already provided many projects in the Middle East including a recent Algerian seawater intake for an ammonium plant for Sorfert near Arzew." says Blomster. "We employ 40 people at our factory site in Stathelle and we can make approximately 1,500 metres of large diameter (up to 2000 mm) per month. We manage on average 6 to 10 major projects per year.   
Having received the pipe order from Geocan in January 2008, we started production in October for delivery on schedule in early April this year. This kind of marine pipe consignment not only delivers the many benefits of plastic pipe technology but is also more economical because of less handling and transport costs.
Savings are often greater due to consolidation. "Last year we assembled three separate consignments for a pipe armada that embraced over four  kilometres of large diameter pipes. This valuable Middle East cruise included major project destinations in Morocco, Lebanonas well as Algeria."                                                                 

Salty resistance
Once ballasted and floated into position at the bottom of the sea, the parallel pipelines for Terga will be submerged to perform unnoticed yet appreciated for at least a hundred years. During this time, they will require little maintenance and always resist the corrosive nature of their liquid contents. Other power plant examples that have used the Pipelife principle for cooling water are in Recife, Brazil and more recently in Cork in Ireland.

Blomster explains that "In addition to all the technical benefits, the towed long length pipe concept in Algeria has proved once again to be the most economical solution for the client and the contractor. Regional industry and communities will benefit considerably from the power generated with the aid of this economical cooling cycle. Algeria now has yet another conduit through which it will benefit directly - in a rather invisible but real way."

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