The Hof University of Applied Sciences is represented on Saturday, 12.02.2022 in the broadcast “Gut zu Wissen” of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation (BR). There, a team from the Institute for Water and Energy Management will present the project “NEEWa – Network for the Generation of Energy from Hydropower in Existing Water Systems”. The knowledge transfer project is funded by the European Social Fund with almost half a million euros.
Dr. Harvey Harbach from Hof developed the project idea while looking into a pond with trout. These agile fish swim permanently against the water current. Accordingly, the conclusion was obvious that sustainable energy generation through hydropower is certainly possible, but is significantly dependent on the location where it is used. In nature, e.g. in a river, it is indeed costly not to disturb the ecosystem. But what about man-made spaces in a fish farm, a sewage treatment plant or a sewer? This question gave rise to the knowledge transfer project “NEEWa – Network for the Generation of Energy from Hydropower in Existing Water Facilities,” which received 417,000 euros in funding from the European Social Fund.
Intelligent use of resources in the fields of water and energy
In line with the university’s mission statement, the central core of the project is intelligent resource utilization in the areas of water and energy. Over a period of 1.5 years, a 6-member team is now determining the potential for sustainable energy generation from hydropower in existing water facilities and informing its network members, as well as anyone else interested, about the possibilities.
Filming by Bavarian Radio for “Gut zu Wissen” program
The Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation would like to show the innovative approach of the knowledge transfer project to its almost 6 million daily viewers. Therefore, the NEEWa team was asked by BR to answer questions in the knowledge magazine “Gut zu wissen”. The result of the filming will be shown on Saturday, 12.02. in the program “Gut zu wissen” between 19:00-19:30 on the BR. In order to be able to show the topic also on the basis examples vividly, project manager Dr. Harvey Harbach and project coworker Dr. Frederik Kaiser together with a camera team of the BR traveled in December to Hessen. The filming was not only a fitting opportunity to inform more people about the topic, the visit to no less than two water plants was also ideally suited for directly carrying out the first planned on-site inspections, including various measurements.
First day of filming: Diemelsee Heringhausen wastewater treatment plant
On the first day of filming, the Diemelsee Heringhausen wastewater treatment plant was presented. This is an ultra-modern wastewater treatment plant, which was built only last year. This plant clearly shows that the use of hydropower in such plants has to be recorded individually. Thus, it was possible to identify two potential locations on site where, under good conditions, electricity can be generated by one or two water turbines. Since the plant control system is fully automated, the purified water can also be discharged in a time-controlled manner. This control makes it possible to adjust the discharge of the water from the plant and thus the power generation by the water turbines to the current demand of the entire municipality of Heringhausen with renewable electricity. It is advisable to move this to the evening hours in which, due to the lack of solar radiation, no electricity from e.g. photovoltaics can be provided.
Second day of filming: Rameil fish farm in Fritzlar
The filming on the second day took place at the Rameil fish farm in Fritzlar. In this company, which has been run as a family business for five generations, food made from fish is produced and marketed in a modern and sustainable way. An aged hydroelectric turbine already exists here. The plant operator from Hesse joined the network of the Hof University of Applied Sciences because he would like to receive an objective assessment of modernization measures. Within the framework of NEEWa, the focus is on companies from Bavaria. However, since the use of hydropower in existing plants is not yet widespread, the Hessian fish farm can be used to demonstrate the economic viability directly to Bavarian fish farmers on the basis of measured values. The Rameil fish farm produces fresh fish locally and sustainably with a lot of manual work. The electricity for this is generated almost exclusively by hydropower itself. Mr. Rameil explains: “In addition to fish processing, we also supply our three residential buildings with hydropower and photovoltaics. Since we have the highest electricity demand in our private living quarters in the evenings and at night, we are glad that electricity from hydropower is available over 24 hours. Photovoltaics would unfortunately not be suitable for this to this extent.” During the filming, the NEEWa team from Hof University of Applied Sciences was able to determine directly on site the decisive parameters – water volume and head – that are important for assessing the potential of a new turbine. This information can now help the Rameil family make a decision on whether to purchase another hydropower turbine. Similar to the first turbine, the second could be installed directly in the pipe through which the water leaves the fish farm.
Sustainable energy production through hydropower in existing water facilities is possible
These examples can now be used to vividly demonstrate in a TV report that sustainable and environmentally compatible energy generation through hydropower in existing water canals can be possible. Dr. Harbach hopes with the approach of the network project particularly in our region, in addition, in completely Bavaria to be able to clear up by the investigations to the potential of this regenerativ energy source. It is important to the Hofer to exclude the effects on the environment by the employment in artificial systems, like fish farms and purification plants, but to be able to make the advantages of this regenerativ energy source usable.