The most powerful generator-turbine hydro unit ever built by Voith has entered service in China.

The German hydropower firm says that the 784 MW unit at the Xiluodu plant in the Jinsha River "sets new standards" and is an important technological milestone on the way to the construction of a 1 GW-sized unit.

Voith handed the Francis-type unit over to China Three Gorges Corporation in mid-August and the firm is set to add a further two units over the next 12 months. The unit includes an air-cooled generator rated at 855.6 MVA. The generator rotor weighs 1350 tons and has a diameter of 13.7 m.

Installation of the generator-turbine unit at Xiluodu started 18 months ago and culminated in a 72-hour test run.

Xiloudu will be fully connected to the grid in June 2014 and will consist of 18 machine units in total and will have an output of 13.86 GW. It will be the world’s third largest hydropower plant.