Tapping Nepal’s Hydro Potential

MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OF MACHINERY IS A LUCRATIVE MARKET


Bestowed with 2.27% of the world water resources, 818,500 Ha of total water surface area, about 6,000 rivers including rivulets and tributaries totalling about 45,000 KM in length, Nepal is the second richest country in inland water resources.

The persistent nature of rivers and the steep gradient of the country’s topography provide ideal conditions for the development of hydropower. Theoretical hydropower potential of the country in terms of electrical energy is estimated at 83,000 MW, of which half i.e. 40,000 MW is considered to be technically and economically viable. Hydropower is a big sector which has the ability to open doors for employment and business opportunities.

One of the 10 companies for the third batch of Rockstart Impact, Chainlink Engineering are one of the few companies that saw the vast opportunity that the hydropower sector of Nepal has to offer and jumped for the same. Chainlink Engineering is a leading metal fabrication and general construction company that aspired to be a leader in repair and maintenance of hydropower projects. The concept of repairing and maintaining hydropower projects was new to me before I sat down with Surya Raj Acharya, founder of Chainlink Engineering.

Surya shares, ‘I am a geek when it comes to engineering. With a background of running 2 businesses, failing and eventually establishing an industry where my heart and passion lies, I have had a lot to learn in my entrepreneurial journey. I always had an interest in hydropower and founded a company soon after I graduated from Kathmandu University as an engineer, running it along the same lines as my current company. But with lack of knowledge, expertise and practice, the business failed with heavy loss of money, time and energy. I enrolled into a MBA program to get more knowledge about the business field and got a job in one of the leading metal fabrication companies at that time. After a year of working, my heart did not settle for working for someone else and soon I ventured out on my own to establish Chainlink Engineering.’

With numerous incomplete and hydropower projects in the pipeline Chainlink Engineering sees a great scope for the repair and maintenance as well. ‘When you buy a motorbike, you get it serviced every 2000-5000Kms and that occurs within a year’s time. Similarly, hydropower plants need servicing since the water that flows in the rivers also carry sand particles when they meet the turbine. Even a small particle can result in rusty turbines which results in low capacity. To give you an example, if a plant has the potential to generate 144MW, despite good water flow and a running machine, the capacity might degrade to 130MW if not maintained periodically’, shares Surya. Currently serving Nepal Electricity Authority as one of their major clientele, Chainlink Engineering aspires to become one of the leading repair and maintenance firms in the years to come.

Currently employing 7 high skilled engineers and 35 staff, Surya feels that mentorship is crucial to grow his business. His field is such that he needs to either acquire knowledge from a skilled labour or get information from skilled engineers. Chainlink Engineering wants to raise an investment to increase the capacity of their workshop by constructing a new shed and installing new equipments. They will change existing management system to a smarter one. This will be achieved by integrating all operations through internet in real time.

Frist published in the Himalayan Times, 15.01.2017

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