Clean energy compressors help build Suki Kinari dam in Pakistan

More than 60 years in the planning, the US$1.9 billion Suki Kinari Hydropower project on the Kunhar River is the centrepiece of an ambitious plan to boost renewable power generation in electricity-starved Pakistan. It is located in the northwestern region of the country, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and close to the Chinese border.

When completed, the dam will be 55 m high and 336 m wide – holding back a 3 km long reservoir containing a gigantic 9 mil cu m of water. It is expected to deliver 3 GW of renewable power to Pakistan’s electrical capacity.

As the damn nears completion late this year or early in 2023, this hydropower plant will help power Pakistan’s industrial development and economic recovery, giving a much-needed socio-economic boost to the local people.

Main contractor on the project, China Geshoubha Group Company (CGGC), is using Atlas Copco electric compressors – known as E-Air – in its work boring the almost 20 km of tunnels and shafts the project requires.

The 45 electric units make the excavations more user-friendly since they do not emit noxious gases and are extremely quiet during operation. As such, these mobile units can be used safely underground, right at the location of use, ensuring the works proceed efficiently.

“We are very satisfied with the portable range of electric compressors from Atlas Copco,” said Mr. Maa from the Equipment & Material Department of CGGC. “We have been successfully using products from Atlas Copco several years, and in its new electric range we have discovered interesting advantages to improve our ways of working. The E-air range offers us more freedom on difficult terrains, higher reliability – all delivered with a low operating cost.”

Besides the electric compressors, a range of units powered by traditional energy from Atlas Copco are also at work, used in applications such as breaking, drilling and tunnelling at the site. Because the terrain is difficult, with many locations difficult to reach, the go-anywhere ability of smaller portable compressors is a perfect match for this assignment.