Bilfinger chosen to supply pipeline for 15.9-MW Gaildorf pumped-storage plant

Bilfinger VAM Anlagentechnik has been chosen to deliver a distribution pipeline for use in the 15.9-MW pumped-storage power plant being built in Gaildorf, Germany.

This unique project on the Kocher River combines wind turbines with pumped storage and is being called a “water battery.” The tower bases of the wind turbines act as the upper reservoirs for the pumped-storage plant. An underground pressure pipeline made from polyethylene connects the reservoir with three 5.3-MW pump-turbines.

The project is intended to act as a short-term energy storage facility and help maintain stability of the electric transmission grid while guaranteeing a continuous, uninterrupted power supply.

Naturspeicher GmbH awarded the contract, and the Max Bogl group is a shareholder in this company.

Bilfinger’s pipeline design splits the piping on the high-pressure side in front of the pump-turbines, according to a press release. This construction is said to help reduce the loss of pressure during turbine and pump operation as it was optimized using a computer-assisted fluid simulation.

“To be able to develop an efficient storage concept, it was absolutely essential for us to integrate state-of-the-art technology like the Bilfinger distribution pipeline in the pumped-storage powerhouse,” said Jurgen Joos, commercial director at Max Bogl Wind AG. “The water battery achieves an efficiency level of nearly 80 percent and can switch from electricity production to storage in just 30 seconds.”

Installation of the pipeline has begun and is scheduled to be completed this year.

Max Bogl Wind manufactures, delivers and erects hybrid towers for hub heights of 130 meters and above. The company holds the record for the highest wind turbine worldwide at 178 meters.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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