Take a look at the world’s most powerful water pump:
What do you think?
Pretty massive, right?
Check out the pump from another angle:
Notice the person bottom right?
Now here’s the pump in comparison to a semi-truck:
Okay, the pump is obviously huge (especially compared to a pressure washer pump). But how much water can it pump?
How fast could it fill your backyard pool? The world’s biggest pool? The Grand Canyon?
You’ll find the answers to those questions and more on this page.
But first, let’s learn more about the pump…
What’s The Pump Used For?
The world’s most powerful water pump was custom built for the pumping station IJmuiden in the Netherlands. Pentair Fairbanks Nijhuis manufactured two in 2004 as part of an upgrade to make it the largest pumping station in Europe. Its function is to prevent “The permanent flooding that previously caused continuous problems in the western area of The Netherlands […]”
It sits at western end of the North Sea Canal as you can see in the map:
- Model: Pentair Fairbanks Nijhuis HP1-4000.340
- Type: Propeller Pump
- Capacity: 60 m3/second (60,000 litres/second)
- Head: 0.5 – 5 metres
- Ideal Power: 4,000 kW (5,364 HP)
- Accolades: Guiness World Records holder. World’s most powerful water pump with flow rate of 60,000 litres/second
How Long Would it Take The World’s Most Powerful Water Pump To Fill Up or Empty The Equivalent of These 9 Volumes?
1. A380 Plane Fuselage
Take a look how big the Airbus A380 is in comparison to cars:
Now how long do you think it would take the most powerful water pump to fill it up with water?
Answer: 18.9 seconds
2. Garden Hose Full of Water Wrapped Around Equator
Imagine wrapping a pressure washer hose around the Earth at the Equator – how much water would that hose hold?
We did the math and found it would have a little more than 5 million litres.
How long does it take the worlds fastest pump to move that much water?
Answer: 1 minute 25 seconds
3. TI-Class Supertanker
There are only 4 TI-Class Supertankers in the world and they are the 4 largest by gross tonnage, cargo mass and displacement. Take a look at one in port – it dwarfs everything:
Take a look at the TI-Class supertanker volume compared to the Airbus A380:
How long for the most powerful pump to fill up the tanker with water?
Answer: 2 hours 19 minutes 44 seconds
4. Empire State Building
Let’s fill the Empire State Building with water. Turn it into a really deep pool.
How long would it take our pump to complete the job?
Answer: 4 hours 51 minutes
5. Great Pyramid
The Great Pyramid isn’t the tallest of structures but it has a large volume in its pyramid shape.
Although being much shorter than the Empire State Building, it has more than twice the volume. It would take the world’s most powerful water pump this long to fill it up with water:
Answer: 11 hours 57 minutes
6. English Channel Tunnel
The English Channel Tunnel is a 50.45 km (31.35 miles) long tunnel with twin rails separated by a service tunnel. You can see the relative diameter of each tunnel compared to the train in the image below:
What do you think the total volume of the tubes is?
How long would it take the pump to fill them up with water?
Answer: 1 day 1 hour 26 minutes 24 seconds
7. Boeing Everett Factory
The Boeing Everett Factory is the biggest building in the world by volume.
Here is what its volume looks like compared to a TI-Class supertanker and an Airbus 380:
To have the enormous volume it needs an enormous footprint. It has a floorspace of 98.7 acres. You could fit a full size par 72 golf course inside it. I roughly measured the area of the Walter Hall Golf Course at 100.54 acres (golf course is walking distance from factory).
So how long does it take the worlds fastest water pump to fill up the Boeing Factory with water?
Answer: 2 days 13 hours 32 minutes and 10 seconds
8. Biggest Open Pit Mine
The Bingham Canyon Mine (a.k.a. Kennecott Copper Mine) is the largest by volume man-made excavation on Earth. In the chart below I attempt to approximate its volume as a cone and then add 10% to account for the fact it is wider than a perfect cone.
It is hard to give it scale – here is an attempt by showing the massive haul trucks driving around the mine’s roadways:
Imagine one day it was decided to turn the mine into a lake. Not likely since it makes hundreds of millions a year for Rio Tinto, but let’s just imagine. How long would it take the our powerful water pump to complete the job?
Answer: 2 years 54 days 18 hours
9. Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is vast.
Here is a rough outline of the Grand Canyon overtop of New York City and then Paris:
And here it is overtop of Switzerland and then Yellowstone National Park:
It’s also really deep. It maxes out at 1,857 metres (6,093 feet).
Here’s the Skywalk to show some scale:
So how long for the world’s most powerful and best at moving water fast water pump to turn the Grand Canyon into a lake?
The official estimate of the Grand Canyon volume by the National Park Service is 5.45 trillion cubic yards or 4,167 cubic kilometres. Which works out to taking this long to fill up with water:
Answer: 2,201 years
Now Let’s Look at 3 Different Pools’ Volumes
This infographic gives you an idea of the different volumes of three sizes of pools:
And before we find out how long it takes the pump to fill them or empty them. Check out the world’s biggest pool (purple outline) beside Central Park (by the way the pool is in San Alfonso del Mar, Chile).
It’s a pretty nice looking pool, too:
1. World’s Biggest Pool
Empty/Fill Time: 1 hour 9 minutes 36 seconds
2. Olympic Pool
Empty/Fill Time: 41.6 seconds
3. Large Backyard Pool
Empty/Fill Time: 1.5 seconds
And Finally, Let’s Empty/Fill Volumes of 6 Well-Known Bodies of Water
We’ll start with the smallest 3 volume bodies of water: Central Park Reservoir, Sydney Harbour and Lake Tahoe.
Here’s an infographic to help visualize their different volumes:
So how long you think it takes the world’s fastest water pump to empty or fill those volumes?
1. Central Park Reservoir
Answer: 17 hours 34 minutes 48 seconds
2. Sydney Harbour
Answer: 108 days 8 hours 9 minutes 36 seconds
3. Lake Tahoe
Answer: 79.75 years
4. Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest and most voluminous lake. It has much more water than the 5 Great Lakes combined.
It would take 156 Lake Tahoe’s to fill Lake Baikal.
Here is a graphic to help visualize its massive volume:
How long do you think it would take the world’s most powerful water pump to move as much water as Lake Baikal has?
Answer: 12,464 years
5. Gulf of Mexico
Here is an infographic showing the immense volume of water within the Gulf of Mexico:
And here is Lake Baikal overtop Gulf of Mexico:
How long would it take the world’s quickest water pump to move the equivalent of that much water?
Answer: 1.32 million years
6. Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the biggest ocean on Earth. It has 49.4% of Earth’s ocean water volume.
Here is an infographic to compare the Pacific Ocean water volume to Gulf of Mexico, Lake Baikal (world’s most voluminous lake) and Lake Tahoe:
- 264 Gulf of Mexico’s fit into the Pacific Ocean
- 27,966 Lake Baikal’s fit into the Pacific Ocean
- 4.37 million Lake Tahoe’s
How long for our water pump to move the equivalent of a Pacific Ocean’s worth of water?
Answer: 348.58 million years
Hopefully you enjoyed reading this article. Please email it to a friend if you did.
You might also enjoy looking at our infographic on discovering extraordinary volumes.
- Voith Pumps Brochure. www.voith.com.
- Pentair Fairbanks Nijhuis. Linkedin.com.
- Pumping Plant IJmuiden Upgrade Project Summary. www.geonet.nl.
- Pentair Fairbanks Nijhuis Product Overview Brochure. www.jung-pumpen.de.
- North Sea Canal. Wikipedia.org.
- TI Class Supertanker Image Credit. www.marineinsight.com.
- Great Pyramid Size Comparison Image Credit.
- World’s Most Powerful Pump Installation Images Credit Links: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.
- World’s Biggest Pool Image Credit. www.snopes.com.