Austria makes use of oil pipeline to produce electricity

Austria makes use of oil pipeline to produce electricity

/ Energy & Power / Tuesday, 25 September 2018 12:02

A pipeline crossing the Alps has been equipped with a turbine allowing it to produce electricity for the equivalent of 3,000 homes, a world first, announced its operators.

The Transalpine Pipeline (TAL), which connects the Italian port of Trieste on the Adriatic to Germany via the Alps, is experiencing a drop of more than 230 meters in Mittersill near Salzburg, in the west of Austria.

“The energy from this fall was not used so far,” said Markus Mühlmann, project manager at TAL.

The oil pipeline, through which 42.4 million tons of crude oil passed through in 2017, was consequently equipped with a 2.5-megawatt turbine, which will produce around 11.5 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, the equivalent of the consumption of 3,000 homes, according to its promoters.

“The plant works on the same principle as a conventional hydroelectric plant, except that the crude is less fluid than water,” said Mühlmann at the inauguration of the new structure in Mittersill.

Because of the risk of pollution, this unique unit in the world was built in a special basin and is subject to enhanced surveillance and anti-avalanche equipment, it was said.

In practice, the installation, estimated at 11 million euros, must cover the equivalent of 12% of the energy needs of the TAL in Austria.

Inaugurated in 1967 and associating in particular the Austrian OMV and Dutch-British Shell groups, the TAL extends over 753 kilometers, including 165 in Austria. Besides this country and Germany, it also serves the Czech Republic.

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