The Berliner Kurier reports that the city of Gorazde survived the siege of 1992-1995 thanks to one invention: a mini-hydroelectric power plant on the Drina River. Now the citizens of Gorazde have received an invitation from the European Union (EU) to help the Ukrainians.
”Citizens of Gorazde do not need much imagination to understand the suffering of people in Ukraine,” Berliner Kurier reports the article of the ap news agency, in which it is reminded that this Bosnian and Herzegovinian (BiH) city, although it was exposed to rocket and grenade fire from the surrounding hills in the 90s, withstood the siege and ”resisted the attacks of the Bosnian Serbs thanks to the ingenuity that could benefit Ukraine now”.
EU employees came up with the idea to help Ukraine
The article also states how the people who work for the EU mission in Sarajevo came up with a way to help the Ukrainians and turned to Edin Culov, the Prime Minister of the Gorazde Canton (Bosnian Podrinje Canton Gorazde), to request drawings, photos, videos the about mini power plants, which were used in Gorazde during the war. The plants consisted of hand-made wheels with paddles mounted on wooden platforms with electric generators, which, secured by barrels and ropes, were placed around a bridge over the Drina River.
”The main power supply cable led from the power plant, or generator, to the bridge, from where the generated electricity was brought to the city through smaller cables. These auxiliary power plants supplied the hospital with electricity. Depending on the amount of water in the river, at least it was possible to ensure the supply of the city hospital, which was constantly working. In the houses near the bridge, a light bulb or a radio, sometimes even a television, could be turned on with the electricity thus produced,” the German newspaper reports.
The paper adds that a group of local mechanical engineers and electricians first made a prototype. ”Their invention was clever, but at the same time simple enough that others could easily replicate the device. Residents found the necessary components in motors, alternators, capacitors, and scrap material from bombed factories, vehicles, and homes.”
The article then goes on to say that the survivors say that the improvised power generation devices were decisive in Gorazde being ”the only enclave in eastern BiH that was not occupied by Serbian forces.” After the war, the mini-power plants were removed.
Prime Minister in search of inventors of mini-power plants
Now, three decades later, at the request of the EU, Culov started a search for the inventors of these devices, and on the radio asked the residents to submit documents or memories of the mini-power plants, which are still preserved. The collected information was handed over to the EU mission, which was then forwarded to Ukraine. ”I assume that they will use the material we provided for the development of some test models. If they prove to be viable, then they will go into mass production,” says Culov in a text reported by the Berliner Kurier.
In the end, it is stated that the two surviving members of the original team of constructors of the mini-power plant on the Drina River in Gorazde reported to Prime Minister Culov. One of them is Aziz Lepenica, who until a few years ago taught engineering at a technical school in that city. He offered to make drawings and technical calculations for Ukraine with the students, because during the war they ”didn’t have time for drawings, but did all the calculations and plans in their heads”, DW reports.