Voith breaks ground on small hydro demonstration project

Global technology group Voith is hoping to use a new small hydropower plant at its factory in Heidenheim as a demonstration site for its customers, employees and the public.

Power generated by the 35-kW Alte Bleiche plant, located on an existing weir system along the Brenz River, will feed into the local grid, while the installation itself will serve as a showcase for Voith’s “StreamDiver” turbine units.

The project is unique in that it will rely heavily upon the talents of Voith’s technical apprentices, who will be involved in all phases of Alte Breiche’s design, manufacturing and installation phases. Students from the Cooperative State University Baden-Wurttemberg will also participate in its management and engineering.

“Alte Bleich is a major interdisciplinary project for our apprentices, who will contribute significantly to the project’s success,” said Erwin Krajewski, head of Voith’s apprenticeship program. “Moreover, we are also strengthening our reputation as an attractive training company with this project.”

The company said work on the plant will start soon with a cut on the existing weir shutter, after which civil works and installation of a hydraulic steel structure, shut off valve, submerged trash rack and cleaning system will begin. Work on the power unit, control center and an exhibition room will take place simultaneously.

Alte Bleich is expected to be in operation by the end of the year, with a project cost in the “mid-six-digit Euro amount.”

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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