Lech am Arlberg – a name that fascinates every fan of skiing. Along with the neighbouring towns of Zürs and Warth, this municipality of 1,500 inhabitants in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg is one of the most famous winter sports regions in the world, and one of the classiest too: it offers more than 500 kilometres of piste and deep-snow runs where celebrities from the worlds of the aristocracy and business, sports and showbiz can do their thing.
And not just them: the region tallies almost a million overnight stays, 850,000 of them during the winter season, which in this part of the world lasts from December to the beginning of May. For the Lech wastewater treatment plant, that means enormous seasonal peak loads. Particularly at Christmas, during the school holidays and at Easter, the 50,000-PE plant has to cope with more than twice the amount of dry weather inlet with a high load.
Managing this – a task for which incidentally VTA system products have been in extremely successful use for many years – is very demanding for every employee at the treatment plant. There’s no time to worry about ancillary work, such as the changing of oil and spark plugs required when operating a gas engine.
This was precisely one of the determining factors for the decision-makers at the Lech municipal councils when they decided at the beginning of this year in favour of a VTA MicroTurbine for combined heat and power generation. After all, the low maintenance requirements and high availability of this technology speak for themselves.
The sewage gas from the treatment plant is now converted into electricity and heat in a turbine plant with one CR30 and one CR65 unit each. Because the gas produced fluctuates between 300 and 1,200 m3 per day, the plant was designed to be completely redundant, allowing optimum use of both the minimum and maximum gas volumes. The load range covers an electrical output of 15 to 95 kW.
100% of energy utilised
All of the electricity generated is consumed at the treatment plant itself. Excess heat is transferred to the district heating network, to which as a result of a wise and prescient decision, the treatment plant located directly in the built-up area was connected as a heat supplier. This ensures that 100% of the energy generated is used.
In Lech, this is also a strong argument because environmental protection is right at the top of the scale of values here. The cable car companies have a comprehensive quality and environmental management system in place. Extensive high-altitude landscaping allows beautiful wildflower meadows to blossom in summer, even on much-frequented ski slopes. In a competition among 400 municipalities throughout Austria held by the Austrian Association of Cities and Towns, Lech has also won two awards: the jury was won over by its environmental culture, maintenance of the townscape and the facilities and measures in place for a good quality of life.
The fact that this exclusive and environmentally conscious model location places its trust in a MicroTurbine system from VTA is further proof of the many impressive benefits of this innovative technology.
Field report from the VTA Group’s scientific journal “Laubfrosch”, issue 77