SPITTELAU DISTRICT HEATING PLANT, VIENNA
Construction of Thermal Waste Treatment Plant
According to Hundertwasser, Friedensreich (34), the major idea of constructing the plant was to devise a dynamic waste plan ranging from opinion forming and providing information on how to avoid the creation of wastes through recycling and optimizing waste separation. The other concern for the construction of the plant was to emphasize on the reduction of waste gases and problematic residues, taking into account health, legal, social, and community needs. Hazardous materials present in slag and ash can be avoided if such materials are not involved in the production of goods. Excessive residual waste is a waste of resources and non-hazardous waste materials can also become problematic in terms of volume (Hundertwasser, Friedensreich. Hundertwasser, 45). Some kinds of wastes can never be reutilized; like the multi-component products. These are products which have severally been recycled or substances that are severely contaminated. However, such wastes are not necessarily wasted since the energy content in them can be used to generate electricity and district heating through incineration.
The construction of the plant also has some additional beneficial side effect such as reducing the volume of waste. In the plant, the storage depot normally receives daily deliveries of 250 waste vehicles and holding reserves for around three days. The plant comprised of two boilers that produced steam from waste materials and a counter-pressure turbine was also attached to the boilers that helped in the generation of electricity. The plant also had four heat exchangers for supplying the heat and a gas purification system (Hundertwasser, Friedensreich. Hundertwasser, 34). To destroy pollutants existing in the shut-down and start-up phases, there is need to impose a condition that requires heating of a flu gas to a temperature of around 850o C for about two seconds. The process of incineration produces a high pressured steam, which drives a coupled generator and the turbine to satisfy its own needs of electricity. Excess electricity generated is then fed in the national grid, which can be used during downtime periods to power the plant. The return water and steam from the heating pipe are fed through condensers thus enabling the transfer of energy from steam to return water. Ash and slag are taken separately and then mixed with cement and water. The slag cement can be put into use as a construction material and is chemically active and inert. The filter cakes containing heavy metals are then stored in a salt-mine in Germany (Hundertwasser, Friedensreich. Hundertwasser, 43).
In 1969, the city council of Vienna entrusted Heizbetriebe with operational objectives of building up, operating and maintaining metropolitan district heating supply and proper disposal of solid wastes. This was to be made possible by the operation of Spittelau thermal waste treatment plant, which was by then under construction. The ongoing expansion programme created an interconnected heating network that was fed by ten individual plants with a capacity of over 2,500 MW. The plant had a pipeline of around 900 km in length; that being the largest in Europe. The plant supplied heating energy for water heating purposes to approximately 4,400 industrial consumers and over 200,000 dwellings (Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich, 24). The purpose for constructing the Spittelau district plant was to avail heat for the new General hospital that was situated some few kilometers away. The plant had a rated capacity of around 460 MW, thereby making it become the second largest supplier of the district heating network. The thermal waste treatment plant, which was located around the heating generating plant, had a capacity of around 350,000 tons of weight annually. In order to comply with the continuous changing of the state-of-the-art cleaning technology of the flue gas, a flu gas scrubbing system was equipped on the thermal waste treatment plant as well as dioxin destruction facility and an ultramodern SCR-DeNOX (Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich, 43).
The previously functional, sober structure was changed into a unique work art, which was successful and formed a harmonious connection between ecology, art, and technology. It also contributed to the reduction of pollution of the urban environment. The municipal solid wastes from Viennese, that is, non-hazardous commercial and domestic wastes of similar composition were normally delivered to the thermal waste treatment plant every week from Monday to Friday. About 250 delivery vehicles were received daily and could pass over a weighing bridge to determine the weight of the waste and then emptying the loads into the waste bunker. The thermal waste treatment plant is composed of two incineration lines, each having a flu gas treatment plant with dioxin destruction facility and SCR-DeNox serving both lines (Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich, 27). The plant also had a flu gas scrubbing system that produced a treatment plant for waste water. The plant functioned by letting wastes pass through the hydraulic ram feeder and the furnace feed chute and then moves down to the bunker and firing grate located at the end of the furnace.
The incineration process produces an 850oC flu gas, which provides heat to the boiler of the waste heat, which results in the production of approximately 90 tones of saturated steam per hour. For power to be generated, the steam is reduced to 4.5 bar back in the pressure turbine after which it is moved to the returning water through condensation in the next heat exchanger bank. The incombustible components reaching the end of the firing grate are cooled down by dumping them in a water-filled slag discharger (Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich, 56). The cooled gas is then moved to the slag bunker through the removal of ferrous scrap and overhead electromagnets. The use of a computerized firing control system makes sure that there is optimum incineration in the grate, and hence a maximum flue gas and slag burnout (Hundertwasser, Friedensreich, 78). When the thermal waste treatment plant was commissioned in 1971, it had a very effective electrostatic precipitator and this was augmented a flu gas scrubber in 1986. The construction of the plant and production of the flue gas made Spittelau become an international leader in emission reduction and flue gas cleaning for the thermal waste treatment plants.
The district heating plant generated approximately 36,400 MWh of electricity and approximately 263,200 m3 of waste deliveries in one year. The plant also produced electricity that served 4,200 public buildings and 190,000 homes and also supplied heat to Vienna’s largest hospital. Continuous innovations and checks in the gas purification plants set high standards for the emission of any pollutant. Among other plants that offered similar services of gas emission reduction included the DeNOx plant, which reduced emission of dioxin and nitrogen oxides. All emissions have an average threshold value of around 30% and the waste incineration plant was only allowed to operate when the entire purification process of flue gas was properly functioning.
The constructed waste incineration plant formed part of the city’s plan for waste management, with a fundamental aim of preventing the creation of any form of waste. For residual wastes, the plant represented the realization of a plan conforming to the latest standards of waste management systems. The approach used in the construction of the city’s waste management system can be used or applied in other situation or construction in the modern world. The plant was designed in a very unique manner and presentation and this has made the plant become a tourist attraction site even after the Viennese artist called Friedensreich Hundertwasser died in 2000. According to Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich (23), the plant has also attracted the construction of several other social sites and architectonic constructions in the whole area.
In the 2001, there was a partnership established between Maishima Osak plant and the waste incineration plant, whose constructions were also designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The partnership between the two plants was established with the primary purpose of exchanging information on the best ways of handling wastes and recycling used products. The exchange of information was majorly based on operational management (waste management, energy use), operational experience with different technologies, dealing with the public, and passing on Hundertwasser’s visions and ideas to posteriority. However, in the long run, the exchange of information will advantage both the plants as well as have positive impacts on political relations between the two nations (Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich, 89).
Signing of the partnership between the two plants prompted mutual visits and teams of experts have been able to exchange experiences in the operational management field and the social practices of the two plants (Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich, 23). The partnership also emphasized the importance of designing buildings as designed by artist Hundertwasser and also discussed the strategies they could use to get acceptance from the public in relation to how they serve the public in controlling wastes. Another team of experts also took a close look at the management and the operation of the existing plants and then used the findings to adopt new methods and strategies that would be viable in waste management in any kind of environment.
If the plant was to be constructed today, the most important aspect is to learn how to exchange information with the public to ensure that what is provided is within the interest of the public. There is need to first collect full information from the public before starting any project (Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich, 43). In addition to that, there is also the need to carry out research and come up with findings that would ensure that the constructors share any relevant information that would be very significant in implementing their operations and objectives. This was witnessed by Japanese tourists and constructors who visited the plant at Spittelau just a few months before constructing their own plant. Exchange of information will not only make the constructors put up a very strong plant but also make their nations become active in the field of urban waste management and environmental protection. The plants should also have been constructed based on the existing technology and market strategies, which enable the industry raise the technical standards to reach the best available technology and at the same time promote good public relations for adequate environmental protection. In summary, the plant should have been constructed to match the modern state of infrastructure and technology.
Hundertwasser, Friedensreich. Hundertwasser Architecture. Köln: Taschen, 2007. Print.
Hundertwasser, Friedensreich. Hundertwasser’s Complete Graphic Work 1951 – 1976. Munich: Prestel, 2008. Print.
Restany, Pierre, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Hundertwasser. New York: Parkstone International, 2010. Print.