The first new pumped storage project in South Africa

Ingula is the first new pumped storage project in South Africa for over 25 years and the largest of its kind in Africa. The complete electro-mechanical equipment was supplied by Voith. The commissioning followed in the year 2016.

This includes four pump turbines, each with a capacity of 342 MW, the associated motor generators, as well as the entire control and automation systems. The construction and manufacture of the motor generators was carried out at the Japanese plant in Kawasaki; the pump turbines came from Heidenheim, Germany.

After the commissioning in 2016, Voith was awarded by the plant operator South African state energy company Eskom to train local staff to operate and maintain the new plant. Voith started in the middle of 2017 the largest HydroSchool training program for hydropower plant operators in its history. Since then, the company has been training around 70 Eskom employees, from technicians through to managers, to fulfil their individual responsibilities.

Voith inaugurates small hydropower plant “Alte Bleiche” on its factory premises in Heidenheim, Germany

Technology Group Voith has built a small hydropower plant on its factory premises in Heidenheim, Germany. A compact, environmentally friendly turbine-generator unit was installed in the river Brenz. The innovative concept will not only generate electricity for the production facilities, but will also serve as a demonstration plant for customers, employees and the interested public.

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 power house, 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 hydropower plant “Alte Bleiche” is equipped with the StreamDiver, a new turbine-generator unit developed by Voith. It 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.

Voith improves efficiency and environmental compatibility of Semla and Graninge hydropower plants in Sweden

There are a large number of hydropower plants in Europe and North America that are more than 100 years old. Voith installed new technology in two of these plants in Sweden, Semla and Graninge, making them not only much more efficient but also more environmentally compatible. 

As a result of the upgrade, the Semla 4 hydropower plant has replaced Semla 3, which was more than 100 years old. Located in the municipality of Fagersta along the Kolbäcksån River in the south of Sweden, the plant now has a power generation capacity of approximately 15 million kilowatt hours, a third more than could be generated by Semla 3. This improvement can be attributed to the complete horizontal bulb unit with generator and hydraulic governor supplied and installed by Voith. In addition, oil volumes were reduced significantly. This not only lowers the total cost of ownership, but also minimizes both risks and the plant’s impact on the environment. 

“Optimizing existing hydropower plants is one of the best options for producing more renewable energies. But another decisive factor is that, as a result, the impact on the environment is neutralized,” says Torbjörn Tärnhuvud, CEO of Sydkraft Hydro Power, who underscores the ecological added value of lower oil consumption. Sydkraft is a member of the Uniper Group, which owns 76 hydropower plants, including Semla 4, and contributes 12 percent of the hydropower produced in Sweden. 

Uniper also operates the Graninge hydropower plant in Sollefteå, about 450 km north of Semla 4. Voith replaced virtually everything inside the plant walls with new technology. As a result, Graninge received a completely new electrical system, control equipment and generator, as well as a new turbine to replace its 100-year-old unit.  

“The new plant works so efficiently that we are now generating 3.2 gigawatts of eco-friendly electricity – twice as much as before,” said a delighted Tärnhuvud, who expresses his appreciation of the collaboration with Voith. According to Tärnhuvud, it is not just the company's expertise that makes Voith stand out. It is also the reliability and precision with which such modernizations are planned and executed. 

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