Bilfinger is to deliver pressure piping and draft tube gates for the new Limberg III pumped storage power plant in Austria in an order valued at over €20 million.

Bilfinger was contracted by Verbund Hydro Power to deliver and assume responsibility for all work on the pressure piping and draft tube gates for the hydropower plant. The order will be booked in the Engineering & Maintenance Europe segment and is expected to run from October 2021 to June 2025.

“High-performance pumped storage power plants such as Limberg III are crucial for the success of the energy turnaround: our new power unit ensures that electricity can be temporarily and in a highly efficiently stored in times of surplus and flexibly fed back into the electricity system within a very short time when required. With such plants, we can contribute to a sustainable electricity supply in Austria in the long term,” said Karl Heinz Gruber, Managing Director of Verbund Hydro Power GmbH.

A team from Bilfinger Industrial Services Austria  is responsible for the engineering, manufacture, delivery, assembly and commissioning of the pressure piping for the new pumped storage power plant. In the future, these will secure the underground connection of the two high mountain reservoirs Mooserboden (2036m) and Wasserfallboden (1680m). 

Assembly of the piping in the pressure shaft presents the Bilfinger team with a particular challenge: due to the tight scheduling, it is not possible to first transport the individual pipe sections up the mountain from where they are roped down into the pressure shaft and only then welded together, which is the usual procedure. To save time, the 35 pipes, each weighing 45 tons, will instead be hoisted from the valley floor through the 585m-long and 42-degree-inclined pressure shaft, temporarily stored and welded directly at the same time as the other work in 48-hour shifts – a first in assembly technique.

In addition to the pressure piping, Bilfinger is also designing, manufacturing and assembling the draft tube gates for the new hydropower plant, each of which is 5m wide and 1.7m high, regulating the flow in the water distribution system through controlled opening and closing.

Verbund decided to renew its partnership with the industrial services provider following the successful cooperation on its sister power plant . At that plant, Bilfinger was also responsible for the manufacture, delivery and assembly of the piping systems.

The Limberg III pumped storage power plant is part of the Kaprun power plant group, one of Europe’s highest hydropower plant. Following planned commissioning in 2025, the plant is expected to generate up to 480MW of clean electricity, making an important contribution to grid stability in Austria. 


Image: The prefabrication of components for pressure piping systems is carried out at Bilfinger’s in-house production facility.