PIPE INSTALLATION AT THE NEUMAGEN POWER PLANT COMPLETED
The Neumagen power plant in the Southern Black Forest represents Kaiser Kraftwerke KG’s eighth hydroelectric power station. The 1,140 m long penstock consists of FLOWTITE GRP pipes from Amiantit.
The installation with the corresponding peripheral equipment was constructed in the area between Staufen and Münstertal. The operating duo Bernhard and Herbert Kaiser is very satisfied with their new power plant in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg which has been completed in November 2015.
The use of hydroelectric power was something the brothers Bernhard and Herbert Kaiser were born with so to speak. Their father bought a hydroelectric power station in 1935 to provide power for the family ski factory in Todtnau in Southern Germany. A second power station was added in 1978 with the active support of the Kaiser brothers. But things were not to stop there. Over the course of some years, the number of installations operated by Kaiser Kraftwerke KG increased to seven. Recently their eighth hydroelectric power project - the Neumagen power station – has been built on the river of the same name. This also benefits the Breisgau region, especially since construction work has been conducted throughout by local companies, something that Bernhard Kaiser stressed more than once during the interview.
A GOOD THING TAKES TIME
In actual fact the power station should have started operation much earlier. The Kaisers applied for planning permission from the responsible authorities 15 years ago. “The decision then was always negative; it was prior to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, and the value attached to renewable sources of energy was much lower at the turn of the millennium than it is today”, says plant operator Bernhard Kaiser. Fortunately the tide has now turned, and Germany wants to take its last nuclear reactor from the grid by 2022. Support for the building of new installations by Kraftwerke Kaiser KG also comes from the “Bürger-Energie Südbaden” (BEGS). This South Baden energy cooperative invites investment from both individual citizens and entire companies, offering participation in the profits from expansion of renewable forms of energy in the region. The BEGS has supported the power plant construction with a six-figure loan. However before the first ground could be broken in February 2015, the power plant operators had to spend years going through the obligatory marathon with authorities. Additionally it was necessary to come to an agreement with several land owners whose properties the pipe route needed to pass through during the installation of the pressure pipeline.
PIPE INSTALLATION MADE EASY
The 1,140 m long power station pipeline runs immediately adjacent to the river. With respect to the material used for the DN 1600 penstock, FLOWTITE GRP pipes made by Amiantit were selected, and were delivered in 12 m straight lengths by truck. The advantages of the fibreglass reinforced intake conduit are as multifaceted as the potential uses in both extremely hot and cold climate zones. The pipe material requires neither linings, coatings nor other corrosion protection measures. “The extremely smooth inner surface largely minimises friction losses, and any pressure surges have little effect on the simultaneously robust and light material. Another important point is also the user-friendly installation of the GRP pipes, which can easily be connected to each other using the spigot and socket joint system”, notes Jochen Auer, the Amiantit Regional Manager responsible for South Germany. Bernhard Kaiser adds that, to this day, a GRP pipeline put into service by Kaiser Kraftwerke KG in 1987 shows almost no signs of abrasion. The pipe route of the Neumagen power plant runs in a relatively linear direction from the water catchment over a kilometre away. Because the pipeline crosses a stream, the company Asal GmbH from Todtnau that was commissioned with pipe installation used two GRP elbows each with 11 degrees in the concerned area. The ground was excavated to a depth of 5 m for this purpose using heavy equipment to circumvent the obstruction, and the practical spigot and socket joint system was particularly useful at this awkward place.
GREEN ENERGY FOR 400 HOUSEHOLDS
The operators decided in favour of a 6-blade Kaplan turbine from HIS Hydro Engineering GmbH in the power house of the installation. With a gradient of 19 m and a flow rate of 2.5 m³/s, the turbine now generates some 1.3 GWh of green electricity with an output of 400 kW. The connection to the grid has been enabled at the beginning of November 2015. Since then the power plant is able to supply 400 households with sustainably generated power each year. If the Kaiser brothers continue in the same vein, the number of their hydroelectric power stations will soon reach double figures. The outlook is good – especially as the Kaisers are already contemplating their next hydropower project.
Tags: Neumagen power plant, Black Forest, Kaiser Kraftwerke KG, FLOWTITE GRP pipes, Amiantit, Baden-Württemberg, Bürger-Energie Südbaden, BEGS, Asal GmbH, 6-blade Kaplan turbine, HIS Hydro Engineering GmbH