Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pass the duct tape, por favor

Central Termoeléctrica Este-Habana

Look under the hood of a '57 Chevy in Havana and you'll likely see an invention or two - a carburetor from a battered Russian truck or some odd handmade part that replaced whatever disintegrated a decade ago.
Hardship has bred in Cuban mechanics an incredible ability to invent. I've wondered about some of the less visible innovations that keep Cuban factories and plants going.

View from the highway

One example could be the Este-Habana thermoelectric plant - known in Spanish as Central Termoeléctrica Este-Habana. It's just west of Santa Cruz del North on the road from Havana to Varadero.
One thing that sets this plant apart is that it uses natural gas - a byproduct of oil extraction that goes on right there in the Santa Cruz del Norte area.


In a 2007 article, Juventud Rebelde said the plant uses from 400,000 to 450,000 cubic meters - or 520,000 to 585,000 cubic yards - of natural gas.

Smokestack casts a long shadow.
Image from Google Earth

You can see where the ocean water enters and leaves the grounds of the plant.

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