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Replaces original equipment and requires no expensive retrofitting or re-engineering.
Perfect for older plants or New Applications. Excellent solution for salt water environments on wave turbines.

  • Largest Inventory in the world of bearing grade Lignum Vitae in log and block form
  • Long length available for single piece application
  • Large Diameters available
  • CITIES CERTIFIED Material to ship anywhere in the world
  • Genuine Authentic Lignum Vitae wood bearings.

Hydro Bearing Products

Lignum Vitae Hydro Bearing

This is a truly green solution for hydroelectric power plants. We have the largest authentic inventory of raw product ready to ship. Modern Composite Bearings such as Thoradon, Ryertex, Mycarta, Phenolics can’t match the durability and the performance of Lignum Vitae. Keep your Hydro Electric Plant running smoothly today and many years to come!

Lignum Vitae vs Modern Composite
We got a quote the other day from the Army Core of Engineers and it speaks to the quality of genuine lignum-vitae verses other composites…

From the Army Corps of Engineers
"The original hydro turbine bearings made of Lignum Vitae, lasted from 1934 to 2001. The Lignum Vitae bearing design kept the hydro turbine in service for sixty-seven years!
Modern composite metal bearing materials such as Thoradon, Ryetex, Mycarta, and Phenolics are unacceptable materials due to their inability to match the characteristics of Lignum Vitae."

Hydro Electric Plants provide Sustainable Energy Built with Natural Products
Lignum-Vitae Wood provides Hydro bearings that make money naturally.

  • Lignum Vitae Hydro Bearing RepairOperation, running and maintenance costs are low.
  • Once the dam is built, the energy is virtually free.
  • No fuel is burnt and the plant is quite neat & clean.
  • No waste or pollution produced.
  • Generating plants have a long lifetime.
  • Much more reliable than wind & solar.
  • Water can be stored above the dam ready to cope with peaks in demand.
  • Unscheduled breakdowns are relatively infrequent and short in duration
    since the equipment is relatively simple.
  • Hydroelectric turbine-generators can be started and put "on-line" very rapidly.
  • Electricity can be Generated Constantly
  • Wave Turbines

Lignum Vitae Hydro Bearing

Wood of Life – Lignum Vitae

In Edison’s day, the definition of resources was what was available within a few miles. Yet from the brilliant minds of great men came the inventive resourcefulness to develop a system of powering a nation, which catapulted it into a period of unprecedented development.

Lignum Vitae Hydro BearingFrom the humble beginnings of simple turbines on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin to the largest generating station ever built in a single step at Conowingo  Maryland’s lower Susquehana River the early days of hydroelectric power revealed American ingenuity at its finest.

Edison’s Hudson River facility at Mechanicsville, NY, the oldest continuously operated commercial hydroelectric power plant, is only one example among many facilities still producing power after fifty to a hundred years. These fascinating stories serve as inspiration to us today as we turn our sights with ever-increasing focus to clean, renewable and independent sources of energy for the future.

By the early 1900s, hydroelectric power accounted for more than 40% of the United States’ supply of electricity, yet today hydro contributes approximately 10% to our generating capacity, eclipsed by the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Yet, our use of these depleatable resources is increasingly scrutinized in light of the world energy situation. While coal remains our most abundant domestic energy resource, prices have increased alarmingly along with other fossil fuels. Regulation, high construction costs and environmental concerns of spent fuel disposal render nuclear power generation a costly alternative.

These trends beg for a brighter idea, a simpler, cleaner solution for our future needs, As electricity use is projected to increase 40% within the next 25 years, we realize we must be more resourceful than ever with energy production. Hydropower represents over 90% of our renewable energy production today, making it our most important renewable resource. We save 531 million barrels of oil each year by generating electricity through the use of hydropower.

Hydropower is especially well suited to the changing demands of the present. Both pumped storage and run-of-river hydro plants have the unique ability to change output quickly. A hydroelectric plant can go from zero-power to maximum output rapidly and predictably, helping to maintain the balance between supply and demand. Its unique voltage control, load following, and peaking capabilities are critical for electric grid stability.

Today’s hydropower turbines are capable of converting more than 90% of available energy into electricity, more efficiently than any other form of generation (the best fossil fuel power plant is only about 50% efficient). Hydropower is climate-friendly, does not deplete the resource during energy extraction and produces no air pollution or toxic by-products. Hydroelectric plants tend to have longer lives and less maintenance requirements than fuel-fired generation plants. Low construction and operating costs along with a 5-7 year period of recovery from construction costs are making hydropower an increasingly attractive investment.
Great potential lies in our existing hydro facilities. The hydropower resource assessment by the Department of Energy’s Hydropower Program has identified 5,677 sites in the United States with acceptable undeveloped hydropower potential. These sites have a modeled undeveloped capacity of about 30,000 Mw. IF developed, these projects alone would result in a greater than 50A%^ increase in hydroelectric generation in the U.S. New facilities could add even more capacity. Through resourcefulness, we find ourselves standing on the threshold of an exciting, new era of energy production.

Lignum-Vitaes Role in Renewable Energy Today.

Just as hydropower is a simple, natural solution to renewable energy production, the use of another of Nature’s marvelous substances, Lignum-vitae, one of the world’s hardest woods, came to Edison’s aid in the development of early hydro turbines. Lignum-vitae became Edison’s solution to the challenge of creating long-lasting bearings capable of withstanding continuous underwater operation in riverine environments. Its incredible density and unique self-lubrication properties make Lignum-vitae ideally suited for use in waters with high particulate levels typical to rivers and streams.

Nature has provided Lignum-vitae in a totally ready –to-use state. It requires no costly manufacturing process, creates no pollutants, and consumes only the energy to mill it into any number of valuable components.

While industry has attempted to develop synthetic substitutes for this remarkable wood, manufactured rivals to Lignum-vitae have proven costly both in terms of dollars, environmental impact and retrofit expense. As we have discovered with fossil fuels, once the brightest hope for providing our energy needs, perhaps Nature ‘s simple solution will prove to be the wiser one.

Lignum-Vitae A Wise Choice

Lignum-Vitae bearing often provide hydro plant operators 25-30 years of maintenance-free service with typical material costs of about 50 cents a day. Many of the hydro plants operating today still utilize Lignum-vitae bearings.  Replacing them with the original material represents a cost effective alternative to expensive retrofitting or conversion to a new bearing system. During a recent restoration project of one of Edison’s oldest facilities, it was discovered that a lignum vitae bearing had worn only two inches in 25 years of continual use.

While many would lead you to believe Lignum-vitae no longer exists in quantities suitable for use as hydro bearings, we have tons of pristine, reclaimed material to prove them wrong with many of our timbers exceeding 18” in diameter, making them the perfect solution for refurbishing existing bearings and utilization in new turbine projects.

Lignum-vitae also represents the ideal material for use in the renovation of historic run-of-the-river mills. We see these mills providing unique opportunities for teaching new generations and the public about the beautiful simplicity of hydropower. These earl examples of America’s industry deserve to be restored and enjoyed by everyone.

The Nature of Lignum-Vitae

Lignum-vitae is one of the strongest, most dense woods in the world. Sixty to seventy percent resin by content, up to 40% oil content by weight, its cellular structure is saturated with its own natural oil making it totally self-lubricating. Lignum-vitae’s homogenous grain yields a remarkably dense solid, which allows precise milling.

Since Christopher Columbus knew it during his travels in the New World, it has been a prized material for shipbuilding. Clocks containing Lignum-vitae parts built by Britain’s famous clockmaker, John Harrison, were recently displayed in London, having kept time continuously for over 250 years.

While many would lead you to believe Lignum-vitae no longer exists in quantities suitable for use as hydro bearings, we have over 60 tons of pristine, reclaimed material to prove them wrong.

Mechanical values of Lignum-Vitae

Category       Units
Dry Weight 77 lbs./cu.ft.
Density (air dry)  77-82 lbs./cu.ft.
Specific gravity 1.37
Hardness 4,500 lbs.
Max. crushing strength  11,400 psi
Tangential movement    2.5%
Radial movement  N/A
Volumeric shrinkage  N/A

Durability: Exceptional resistance to moisture and fungal attack

Source: National tree of the Bahamas, also found in the West Indies, Central America, northern South America

Description:  Lignum-vitae is the heartwood of the genus Guaiacum. At a hardness of 4,500 lbs. it is one of the world’s hardest woods (three times as hard as oak). In the dry state, Lignum-vitae possesses extremely small rolling friction comparable with that of P.T.F.E. (A synthetic lymer resin, Ploytetrafluoroethylene, commonly known as “ Teflon”)

Lignum-vitae is prized for mallet heads, ship parts, bearings and rollers. Because of its durability and natural lubricants, it is the preferred wood for propeller bushings and other underwater applications, the lignum-vitae tree generally grows to a diameter of about 12”, although historically, trees in the 18” -30” range have been known. Lignum-vitae is reddish brown when freshly cut, with ale yellow sapwood. As it oxidizes, the color turns to a deep green, often with black details. The grain is highly interlocked; machines well and takes a high polish, up to grits of more than 1,000. It is a remarkable good wood for turning and, due to its incredible hardness, lends itself well to the most critical of engineering specifications.

We provide Premium reclaimed lignum-vitae & precision manufactured bearings for today’s industrial projects.

We at Lignum-vitae.com believe this remarkable substance can continue to play a vital role in our modern world. For this reason, we have amassed an impressive collection of reclaimed material in order to make Lignum-vitae feasible for modern industrial use. We can provide either the raw material or supply manufactured precision bearings. Lignum-vitae bearings are available in a variety of configurations for use in the following applications:

• Water lubricated bearings hydroelectric turbine bearings
• Water turbine bearings double runner bearings
• S-Morgan Smith Turbine bearings quad runner bearings
• Leffel Turbine bearings antique turbine bearings
• Horizontal turbine bearings wooden guide bearings
• Pulley sheaves submerged bearings
• Wooden thrust bearings machine bushings