Rexroth Outfits the Largest Tidal Power Plant in the World


The largest tidal power plant in the world started out as a government SNAFU. The Republic of Korea built a huge dam as part of a land reclamation project, forming a fresh water lake and a coastal lagoon near Seoul. Before long, the water quality in the coastal lagoon was worse than brackish. The Korean government determined that they’d have to arrange for more natural water interchange between the ocean and the lagoon.

They decided that, since they had to get into the dam and drill some holes anyway, they might as well take advantage of the opportunity to generate some electricity. So they planned ten giant turbines along the length of the dam.

Korea approached Rexroth for custom hydro-powered systems to regulate the new power plant’s turbines. The special units keep the turbine’s blades and guide vanes in just the right position for maximum power generation.

Since the tidal range covers 8 meters, regulating for maximum electricity production all along the range is a challenge. However, Rexroth has done the job, and the power plant generates 254 megawatts — enough electricity for half a million people.

Rexroth used a biodegradable hydraulic fluid, and the water quality in the lagoon is back to its natural standard.

This is just one example of how creativity and precise engineering can make technology a friend of the environment rather than a foe.

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