Thursday (Jueves) 8th April, 2010
Day 391

Foz Do IguaƧu, Brasil
Foz Do Iguaçu, Brasil
Miles: 40,417
S 25.55944°
W 54.57625°

This afternoon we visited the Itaipu Dam. This is a joint venture dam and hydro power operation between Brazil and Paraguay. Until recently Itaipu was the largest dam and largest hydro operation in the world. The Chinese Three Dams project has taken over the mantle of the largest dam and hydro installation, but Itaipu is still the largest producer of hydro power.

The dam is awesome and the statistics breath taking.

  • The dam is 8 km long, 2km of concrete dam, 2.5km of rock fill, and 3.5 km of earth fill.

  • The storage capacity of the lake behind the dam is some trillions of liters, I don't remember the number, but it's enough water for every person on the planet to have 5,500 liters (thats about 1300 gallons).

  • Today the spill-way was open letting excess water out of the dam; the discharge rate today was 8,000,000 liters per second.

  • At the height of the construction process, concrete was being poured at the rate of one 20 story building per hour.

  • To supply the concrete during construction there were three concrete plants on site working 24/7, and two ice plants. Why ice? To cool the setting concrete. During summer temperatures up to 48°C (118°F) caused the setting concrete to crack.

Brazil and Paraguay share the electricity 50/50. However, Paraguay sells 43% of its 50% back to Brazil and only keeps 7% of the production for it's own use. Even so this satisfies 90% of Paraguay's electricity demand. The 93% that Brazil gets satisfies 20% of its demand.

Does it sound like we were impressed?

We are also impressed that the temperature in April is 25°C not 48°C.