120kW generator connected to a pelton wheel

Power Station Exploration

Awoke again in the rain. Eventually we crawl out of bed and have breakfast. We drove a little way and set about investigating a small hydro station by the sea. The University of Sheffield Iceland River Expedition temporarily changes focus to become a Hydro power station exploration trip.

Prehistoric looking control system on pelton wheel turbine/generator

We found it was a 150kW Francis turbine by reading the sign on a small grey box by the door. We were unable to gain access to the building for a more detailed inspection, so shortly departed for another small station marked on our map. A sign in Icelandic at the start of the track up to the power station was ignored and we continued to investigate. We initially thought the station was not operating as there looked to be just the same amount of water upstream and downstream of the outlet from the shed containing the generator, but on a closer look, we saw there was a trickle of water coming out. This is a pelton wheel turbine, high head, low flow, and we were all surprised just how low the flow was. The door was open here, so we were able to look in the generation shed. There was a control panel with lots of buttons on it, but like good boys, we refrained from touching anything. The output was 120kW, according to the panel, a huge thin flywheel and a belt driven regulation device that looked like it had come out of the ark.

Overflow on the tiny dam for the pelton wheel turbine

Lots of interesting rocks in the area too. Gas-pocket filled stones with bright green salts that all got added to our now rather large collection of stones. We went for a walk up the waterfall to investigate the reservoir at the top that fed the hydro station. The pipe that ran down the waterfall had some micro leaks that provided some entertainment. We found the dam at the top, and there was a control gate that could have been played with, had it not totally seized up. The dam had obviously had some recent repairs; true Icelandic style, someone had just dumped a few hundred tonnes of rock on the dam. The sun even came out on our way back to the Landrover.

Saw a couple of great northern divers on the way to find a campsite, but neither Tom nor Andy were that interested, and as I was not driving I was unable to stop for a closer look.

Start of a very calm clear evening by the sea on the west coast of Iceland

Now camped by the sea listening to Mark Knopfler. There was a great display of the northern lights at about midnight, and after it went dark, we played about with long exposures and a torch.

Andy playing games with his torch. Rob standing on the right timing the shot