Búrfell Hydroelectric Plant Refurbishment

The Burfell Hydroelectric Power Station is located in South Iceland. It was constructed over a three-year period from 1969-1972. All of the station’s six turbines were upgraded in 1997-98, which boosted installed power from 210 MW to 270 MW.

Trash racks and intake gate equipment were renovated during the years 1996-2003. This included the following upgrades:

  • New trash racks, inclusive frames and guides. New lifting system for the uppermost trash-rack in each slot.
  • The spillway flap gates were renovated; including new design of bearings and seals, new hydraulic cylinder, new design of ice smelting system and complete sandblasting and painting.
  • The ice skimming gates were renovated; including new bearings and seals, new hydraulic cylinders, new design of ice smelting system and complete sandblasting and painting.
  • Sand sluice gates were closed permanently with steel structure and frames bolted on the concrete. 
  • New heating system for the spillway flap gates and the ice-skimming gates installed with central heaters and ethylene glycol, replacing an electrical heating system.

Technical data:

  • Installed capacity: 270 MW
  • Turbines: 6 Francis units, vertical axis
  • Gross head: 115 m
  • Harnessed discharge: 260 m³/s
  • Burfell Dam: Length 370 m
  • Headrace tunnel: ø10 m; length 1,564 m
  • Pressure shaft: 2 shafts, ø5.5 – 6.0 m; length 100 m
  • Tailrace canal: 250m
  • Powerhouse L/W/H: 85/19/31 m


  • Inspection and recommendations for renovation
  • Design and shop drawings
  • Tender documents and evaluation of tenders
  • Purchasing assistance
  • Supervision of manufacturing and installation
  • Supervision of testing and commissioning
  • Documentation of design and As-built drawings
  • Testing and supervision reports
270 MW 
Installed capacity
260 m³/s 
Harnessed discharge
2,300 GWh 
Production capacity

Burfell was the largest power station in the country until the inauguration of Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Station in 2007. Burfell is owned and operated by Landsvirkjun (National Power Company of Iceland), which is owned by the Icelandic state and processes 73% of all electricity used in Iceland. It is the country's largest electricity generator.


Búrfell Hydroelectric Plant Refurbishment