Voith completes hydropower turbine installation in Germany, will outfit plant in Indiana, U.S.

Global technology group Voith has completed the construction of a small hydropower plant in Heidenheim, Germany, while also announcing that it will outfit a small project to be built in South Bend, Indiana, U.S.

The first plant — named “Alte Bleiche — is located at Voith‘s Heidenheim factory on Germany’s Brenz River. The 35-kW project not only generates power for the manufacturer’s facilities, but also as a demonstration plant for Voith’s customers and employees.

Ground for Alte Bleiche was broken last April. The year-long construction process saw significant collaboration with Voith’s apprentices, who participated in the design, manufacture and installation of the turbine and control system assemblies. Students from the Cooperative State University Baden-Wurttemberg were also called upon to provide management and engineering services.

Powering Alte Bleiche is one of Voith’s “StreamDiver” turbine units, which will also be installed in the plant in South Bend.

The project is to be installed on the St. Joseph River and will be used to support the University of Notre Dame’s campus sustainability plan that is designed to eliminate the institution’s use of coal by 2020, while cutting ND’s overall carbon emissions by more than 50% by 2030.

Transmission lines will run from the powerhouse — located in Seitz Park near downtown South Bend — to campus, providing about 7% of ND’s total electrical needs.

“This area has long served as the focus of industry, development and activity throughout the history of South Bend and the region,” said Paul Kempf, Senior Director of Utility’s and Maintenance for ND. “Adding hydropower to an increasingly diversified campus energy portfolio will provide energy reliability and security to the research and academic mission of the university.”

Construction on the plant is expected to being this year with completion scheduled for mid-2019. Voith said the project will not change the aesthetics of park, save for a small surface building that will house control equipment.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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