December 04, 2015

MSc ETIA excursion to Simmering – some highlights

View of one of the final clarifier of the biological treatment

On November 18, 2015 the 8th promotion of ETIA took part in a field trip in the South of Vienna (Simmering) to visit two of the major infrastructures of the city of Vienna : the Vienna Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Waste Incineration Plant of Pfaffenau.

The Vienna Wastewater Treatment Plant is one of the largest and the most modern in Europe. Designed to treate wastewater produced by 1.7 millions people, it covers a surface of 44 ha. It is situated at the lowest point of Vienna as all the wastewaters and rainwaters are transported through the sewer system of Vienna by gravity. The plant employs more than 150 workers and is operated 24 hours a day. The plant has 2 important stages: Wastewaters are initially treated mechanically through a series of mechanisms, followed by the biological treatment.

This has a great influence on the Danube quality, leading to the oxygen demand upstream and downstream being constant at around 4.3 g/l. For the moment, the sludge produced is incinerated in the incineration plant nearby, to produce domestic heat. But this will change in the following years.

The Vienna wastewater treatment plant is taking part in the EOS project (Energy Optimisation Sludge Treatment), which has the objective of producing biogas through anaerobic sludge digestion. Biogas will be used for electricity generation and heat production with an improved efficiency. The works have already started, which is a huge logistical challenge as the Vienna Wastewater Treatment Plant is in operation and has to provide a continuous service.

The second guided tour took place at the Waste Incineration Plant of Pfaffenau. Since 2008, it has treated municipal and bulk waste. The location was chosen in order to be close to the motorway and in synergy with the surrounding facilities, including the hazardous waste incinerator, the biogas facilities and the laboratory. There are 3 basic principles regarding waste collection: prevention, separation, and utilisation. The 200 vehicles of the MA48 deliver waste to the plant daily. Trucks are weighted and radioactivity is checked. After that, the incineration process starts in the boiler, at a temperature of 1000°C. The boiler produces flue gas, which is used to produce energy, transmitting its heat to water with an efficiency of 76%. Before it is released into the atmosphere, flue gas is cleaned through four processes. Thus, the air realised at the station is of an excellent quality


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