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  • from the waters in the Yangtze River in China

  • rises the biggest concrete structure a plan

  • the Three Gorges Dam is over two kilometers long

  • and 60 stories tool

  • it has taken forty thousand workers over 70 years to build

  • when it fully comes online this one down

  • will produce over 20,000 megawatts how

  • twice as much as cool the nuclear power stations in Britain put together

  • it is the pinnacle damn engineering

  • home the Three Gorges Dam

  • owes its success to 5 landmark times

  • in the heart it leaves lies a major technological innovation

  • allowed engineers to build and big data

  • one by one traveling up the scale will reveal the incredible stories behind

  • the structure

  • on

  • and the inventions that allowed them to produce

  • evermore power

  • 6 ingeniously forward from being

  • to bigger into the world

  • things

  • I'm

  • here I'm

  • them

  • I'm

  • China is one fastest-growing economies on

  • to fuel the need to mix ever accelerating industry nation needs more

  • much in this would be provided by an enormous

  • down spanning the mighty Yangtze River in central China

  • called the Three Gorges

  • our cameras have been granted privileged

  • access to capture this amazing feat of engineering

  • in its full glory

  • the

  • before they could start building 3 largest the Chinese first had to divert

  • the Yangtze

  • River which is almost two kilometers wide and move

  • over a million people from the area about to be flood

  • Three Gorges Dam is the biggest hydro-electric project in the world

  • this damn news 28 million cubic meters a cock maybe one way to look who's to say

  • saw solid hyper concrete a meter diameter

  • right around the world lot a concrete

  • the chinese authorities think it's worth the effort as the Three Gorges Dam will

  • provide clean

  • and cheap electric power to millions

  • to understand how the Three Gorges Dam can produce so much

  • we need to travel back in time

  • to nineteenth-century Britain

  • and a modest stream in Northumberland the power behind the world's

  • first hydroelectric dam

  • in the eighteen hundreds while Britain is at the heart of the Industrial

  • Revolution

  • this house is the last word in modern lived

  • it belongs to Lord Armstrong an entrepreneur

  • and obsessive invent he has fitted his house with state-of-the-art technology

  • including central heating and mechanical devices that drive elevators

  • laundry machines and roasting space

  • but there is one place in the house where modern technology

  • is sadly lacking as historian and Tony Burke

  • explains this was Armstrong's

  • real pride and joy the picture gallery for wonderful Victorian paintings

  • bit gloomy even in daylight what he really wanted to do

  • was to bring his guests here in the evening by the flicker candle light

  • nothing really worked

  • what Armstrong needs

  • our electric lights and away to power them

  • how do you generate electricity that something was known for

  • fifty years was Michael Faraday a given the secret you move

  • a magnet in relation to call on work bundle set appear

  • so how it might work now

  • here we are here we've got to magnets

  • on the end this disc and right here is a call love one now

  • if I make this spin mission to that we should

  • make electricity on

  • yet getting reading on a meter we are definitely

  • taking elect every time the magnet some

  • this moved past oil generated tiny

  • electric handsome copper wire make a lot of electricity

  • you need much bigger Kate and this is what Armstrong board

  • Thomson vortex turbine agran peace equipment

  • the thompson turbine needs a huge volume of fast-flowing water to drive the road

  • Lord Armstrong has available

  • is a tiny stream trickling through his estate

  • what he needed was this a lotta water

  • hud's again this on a small stream a

  • built a dam mom

  • Armstrong builds and Perth wall nearly ten meters high

  • which turns history into a deeply

  • this massive water pushing down increases the pressure at the moment

  • Armstrong channels this high pressure water down through a pipe

  • to the bottom now

  • he injected into a Thomson to her by with Tara

  • spins the world

  • this in turn road takes a shot lead to a generator

  • the produces four thousand wats electricity

  • for Armstrong this is only the first step to enlightenment

  • now he needs to get the electricity from the turbine house at the bottom it is

  • Dom

  • all the way to his picture gallery over a kilometer away

  • Armstrong connect two strands of the copper wire to the generator

  • to carry the electricity up to as much all in all

  • uses five tons of copper to power

  • a single like gold

  • but he has created a world-first house

  • let's by the power above water ok

  • on the other side of the planet in central China the Three Gorges Dam

  • takes Lord Armstrong's concept to the extreme British engineer Robin Charlwood

  • has been working on the time since 2003

  • and is still impressed by its scale

  • wherein

  • wanna 3 very large powerhouse Three Gorges Project

  • in this seven hundred meter long from here

  • you can see 40

  • large turbine generators then

  • me on this one kilometer away second

  • house then be on that one yet another powerhouse

  • to be underground at the Rock the Bogside their each one of these

  • generators cost about $50 million dollars

  • good idea at this scale this project damn damn damn

  • have one generator Three Gorges has 32

  • together they produced by million times more power than

  • them

  • to drive them the chinese have harnessed the power

  • the mighty Yangtze River in the reservoir behind the dam

  • the river now rises up to 60 stories about

  • river

  • water is channeled down gigantic concrete choose to walk the generators

  • here the torrent water hits the turbines and makes

  • spent

  • this motion is in turn transferred to the rotary general

  • this is fitted with a massive magnets which moved past copper coils in the

  • casing

  • to generate electricity

  • just wanna these machines makes as much

  • electricity as a small nuclear power plant

  • 132 generators together

  • produced enough power for $60 million Chinese

  • this project is setting a new benchmark in the international hydro-electric

  • industry

  • it's almost twice the size of the next largest project

  • it out Brazil cause is only the first a whole series that make it at

  • are under construction here in China

  • back in 1878 dead and I'm showed that even the smallest

  • dream can be harnessed to produce electricity

  • but to generate power on a larger scale engineers had to wrestle with bigger

  • returns

  • to build a dam that could produce a 128 make

  • once French engineers had to persuade the raging

  • Dordogne river to run courts

  • France in 1940

  • the outbreak of the First World War plunged the country into a deep

  • energy crisis with that cold feels occupied by the germans

  • the French are forced to import coal from abroad

  • to feed their power plants and keep the country

  • going so after the war they decide to boost the nation's power supply

  • with electricity from a hydro-electric dam but building a concrete dam in the

  • fast-flowing Dordogne river

  • presents quite a challenge and this is all a mighty river Dordogne

  • here on the beach now you call

  • just Paul concrete in the Middle River they wanted their damn

  • here but not to get one damn they had to build three

  • for civil a temperate damn goes in here

  • what's called a copper damn that stops the river flowing

  • be cut to stop it is gonna go over the top unless you do something different

  • bill

  • a diversion channel right round at and then

  • to stop it backing back up again you put in a second cofferdam

  • he annual spacing between which you can drain

  • and its there you can build your main damn

  • at the door died

  • engineers blasts two tunnels through the rock to carry the diverted river

  • they drop steel cages containing

  • rocks into the river to make that temporary coffered up

  • then they strengthen it with concrete

  • now is the river behind the dam begins to rise

  • it drains through the tunnel

  • to stop this water from backing up the engine is built a second cofferdam

  • once the water drains from the river bed between the dams

  • it leaves a perfect Dreisbach to build remains

  • was completely engineers discovered when the into the central part

  • that actually the riverbed was solid will good bills

  • straighten top

  • layer by layer giant concrete structure

  • rises 30 stories up from the river

  • the engineers then close the diversion tunnels

  • and allow the reservoir to fill up and submerge the coffer dams

  • their job done

  • finally they can open the gates to the turbines

  • and stop producing Tricity

  • when the Marais aged I'm is finished

  • it produces a 128 megawatts enough to help power train line to only all

  • and supply the city of Paris 400 kilometers away

  • with electricity

  • the Yangtze River is over 6,000 kilometers long

  • and in places several kilometers wide

  • the biggest River in China it presents enormous logistical challenges to the

  • dam engineers

  • as the Yangtze

  • rises behind the Three Gorges Dam it will flood over a hundred and fifty

  • thousand acres of land along its banks

  • so the chinese have to relocate over a million people from the land behind the

  • time

  • thousands of new houses have to be built for the displaced citizens to live it

  • then the engineers can begin damn River

  • wrist and here among some in the rocks and these

  • precast concrete blocks that were used to tree

  • the coffer dams to control a river during the construction

  • the Three Gorges Project controlling the river

  • to allow the construction of this huge project was clearly a major undertaking

  • and with the Yangtze rivers 1 largest rivers in the world

  • very fast very deep so building is confidant's and

  • to allow safe construction was a major operation the Chinese claim that this

  • was the largest most difficult diversion

  • ever undertaken for hydro-electric project I'm

  • you look at the scale of it they were absolutely right this was huge

  • you

  • the engine is begin work on a series of stone cofferdam

  • to block off part of the axe was leaving a channel open for the rest in the river

  • to flow through

  • they build the first two sections of the main down on the drive reverb

  • then they dump tons of earth into the river

  • and on top of it build another cofferdam this time

  • from concrete

  • with the river held in check behind its they can finally bill

  • the last section at the bath

  • then they must remove the cofferdam

  • so that water can flow through the turbines and the main to

  • having built such substantial cover them structures it's a major challenge how to

  • remove these things

  • so in the in the earliest stages where they were built to

  • very large rocks like this then that could be handled with

  • big X greater equipment relatively conventional

  • but in the final stage where they had a solid concrete wall to remove

  • this required some serious innovation up

  • unlike the cofferdam in my rage the Chinese version is Jim told to simply

  • leave it in place

  • so the Chinese engineers build it leaving holes for explosive charges

  • on the 6th June 2006

  • they fill them with 290 tons dynamite and hold their breath

  • up

  • what has taken months to build takes only seconds to destroy

  • as the cofferdam crumbles and unleashes the water stored behind

  • you

  • it's the final test for the Three Gorges Dam

  • and it holds

  • back in 1935 them are aged I'm proved that engineers could divert rivers to

  • build powerful

  • downs

  • but to break through the 1000 megawatt American engineers building the Hoover

  • Dam

  • had to take that building material to the limit

  • in the 1930s USA decide to tackle one of their big

  • economic problems the cities in the western United States can't grow

  • because they lack both water and

  • so to break the deadlock engineers begin work on the world's biggest dan