IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - Spanish - November/December 2020 - 113

historia

Robert D. Barnett

cargas electroquímicas
suministradas por la compañía de potencia
hidroeléctrica de las Cataratas del Niágara

E

EN 1895, LA NIAGARA FALLS
Power Company (Compañía Eléctrica
de las Cataratas del Niágara) instaló
una estación generadora polifásica a
gran escala en las Cataratas del Niágara, Nueva York. Posteriormente denominada Central Eléctrica de Adams
N.° 1, la energía fue producida por primera vez en 1895. Diez años después,
un total de seis estaciones de generación de CA estaban en funcionamiento
a ambos lados de la frontera entre EE.
UU. y Canadá. El rápido desarrollo de la
generación eléctrica en las Cataratas del
Niágara fue en gran parte resultado de
la floreciente industria electroquímica.
La Central Eléctrica de Adams generó potencia bifásica. Las industrias que
utilizarían esta potencia requerían una
mezcla de CA y CC. Para las centrales
de CA, solo se requería un transformador para proporcionar la tensión de
proceso. Sin embargo, para los requerimientos de CC se necesitaban convertidores rotativos. Estas máquinas, que
normalmente se encuentran en la central
de fabricación, eran el medio habitual
para suministrar corriente continua de
alta intensidad en los días anteriores al
desarrollo de los rectificadores de arco
de mercurio o, posteriormente, de los
dispositivos eléctricos de estado sólido.

Las industrias
Aunque las Cataratas del Niágara,
Nueva York, no fue el lugar de naciIdentificador de Objeto Digital 10.1109/MPE.2020.3016101
Fecha de la versión actual: 16 de octubre de 2020

noviembre/diciembre 2020	

En columnas anteriores de " Historia " , exploramos varios aspectos de la potencia eléctrica asociada al área de las Cataratas del Niágara. En esta edición
presentamos una visión desde la perspectiva de las cargas consumidas por los
clientes de las primeras centrales de generación hidroeléctrica en la zona de
las Cataratas del Niágara. Este artículo se centra en las primeras fábricas electroquímicas y los métodos de distribución utilizados para servir estas cargas.
Damos la bienvenida a Robert D. Barnett por quinta vez a las páginas de
" Historia " de nuestra revista IEEE Power & Energy Magazine. Miembro Vitalicio
del IEEE, Barnett se graduó de la Universidad de Waterloo y el Niagara College.
En 1982 formó la Niagara Society for Industrial History como un grupo de apoyo
para un museo propuesto en una antigua central eléctrica en las Cataratas del
Niágara, y ha escrito sobre la historia de este tema.
John Paserba,
Editor Asociado, " Historia "

miento de la industria electroquímica
estadounidense, ciertamente fue su
vivero. Martha Moore Trescott, en su
libro The Rise of the American Electrochemicals Industry (El auge de la
industria electroquímica estadounidense), dijo: " La mayoría de los primeros
avances en electroquímica ocurrieron
en las Cataratas del Niágara después de
1895 " . Trescott también señaló que la
Oficina del Censo de los EE. UU. dijo
en 1910 que " Las Cataratas del Niágara, Nueva York, es la sede principal de
la industria electroquímica, y ha mantenido esta posición desde el principio " .
La primera central electroquímica en tomar el poder fue la Compañía
Pittsburgh Reduction. Las centrales de
la Compañía Carborundum y la Compañía Union Carbide (ahora conocida
como Union Carbide Corporation) la
1540-7977/20©2020IEEE

siguieron de cerca. En la siguiente década se añadieron muchas otras centrales más (véase la Tabla 1 para una
lista de la mayoría de las grandes). La
figura 1 muestra un mapa de 1904 del
área cerca de las Centrales Eléctricas
de Adams en la parte del río justo encima de las cataratas. A finales de la
década de 1890, otra central eléctrica
propiedad de Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power & Manufacturing Company
(Compañía Hidroeléctrica del Niágara) y situada debajo de las cataratas
empezó a suministrar energía a las
industrias electroquímicas de su zona.
Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power & Manufacturing Company había estado en
funcionamiento desde la década de
1880, pero debido a que originalmente
era una central con generadores pequeños, no era adecuada para suministrar
ieee power & energy magazine	

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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - Spanish - November/December 2020

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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - Spanish - November/December 2020 - Cover3
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