Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Trip To The North (2)

The next morning, we went to Bukit Merah lake whose shore is dotted with pockets of development, some completed and some in various stages of completion. The immense lake is carved in two by an embankment on which a railway line sits. We had to wait for a small boat to pick us up. It took about 20 minutes to get to the sand extraction facility which sits on two barges and a landing platform. For an ageing landlubber, clambering up a barge from a small bobbing boat required physical dexterity that was beyond me, but I managed with help of my friend who gave me a push from under my butt.

We were to observe the installation and testing of equipment to supply water diesel emulsion or emulsified fuel to run the engine. Water diesel emulsion fuel, a blend of water, diesel and a surfactant, is much cleaner and economical for heavy users of diesel fuel. The water, diesel and a surfactant are first blended in a blending machine and the resulting emulsified fuel is heated to the right temperature before it is fed to the engine. There were technical problems in installing the fuel delivery system which were only ironed out on the third day. But my interest that day was to observe the sand extraction process.

The lake is dissected by a railway crossing

It took us about 20 minutes to get to the facility on this small boat

Approaching the sand extraction facility

The facility comprises two barges and a landing platform

This barge has an excavator that is used to loosen up sand and manoeuvre the barge

Inspecting the depth of the lake and the sand bank

Workers ensuring that equipment is functioning

The excavator loosening sand to enable sand extraction pipe to suck in sand and water

The huge rotating blades fitted at the mouth of the pipe churn as they suck in water and sand

The pipe that carries water and sand to the shore in the distance

Near the shore the pipe spews out water and sand

An excavator on the shore scooping out sand

The excavator dumping sand on the shore

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