Voith inaugurates hydro plant at Heidenheim factory premises

6 April 2017

A small hydro plant is providing power to Voith’s factory premises in Heidenheim, Germany, demonstrating the company’s StreamDiver technology.

The Alte Bleiche hydropower plant and associated show and technology room officially commenced operations on 24 March 2017 after a construction period of about a year.  The project features the compact, environmentally friendly StreamDiver turbine-generator unit installed in the river Brenz that will not only generate electricity for the production facilities, but will also serve as a demonstration plant for customers, employees and the interested public.

"With an installed capacity of 35 kW, the power plant will produce up to 286,000 kWh of renewable electricity per year that will be fed directly into our production facility. This is roughly equivalent to the annual consumption of 100 households,’’ explained Uwe Wehnhardt, CEO of Voith Hydro and Member of the Corporate Board of Management.

The StreamDiver technology was designed specifically for river plants with low heads and is thus ideally suited for the Heidenheim location on the Brenz. In comparison with traditional turbines, the StreamDiver impresses as a compact, oil-free submersible turbine, allowing for a standardized and cost-efficient plant concept. As a result the necessary impacts on the environment during the installation phase were minimized, said Voith.

The plant was installed into an existing weir system of the Brenz. In cooperation with the Technical University of Munich an ecological solution for a so-called shaft power plant was developed in which turbine and generator are installed in a concreted chamber in the riverbed. By utilizing existing dam structures and eliminating the need for a powerhouse, the facility could be built very cost-efficiently. In addition, the power plant does not cause any noise emission and has minimum impact on the natural scenery.

“The small power plant Alte Bleiche is another excellent reference facility for the StreamDiver. This compact, submersible turbine has already been used successfully for many years in Sweden and Austria. Other projects in Peru, Indonesia and the USA will go on stream at the end of 2017 or early next year,” explained Wehnhardt.

A special aspect of the Alte Bleiche project was the extensive involvement of Voith technical apprentices, who participated for example in the design, manufacture and installation of the turbine and also took care of the control cabinet assembly. Furthermore, students from the Cooperative State University Baden-Württemberg were deployed on project management and engineering tasks. 

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