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Story 149 – 1864 – Innovation Sustainability

A prime example for sustainability

Renewable energy has a long history in Vöhringen

In and around the Vöhringen plant, two hydroelectric power plants have been in operation for more than a hundred years and have been generating considerable amounts of climate-neutral electrical energy without interruption ever since. But the river Iller’s canal also plays an important role in water disposal.

When Philipp Jakob Wieland bought a mill in Vöhringen in 1864, his main concern was to use the water power of the river Iller to drive his machines. What the founder of the company could not know back then: Even more than 150 years later, this stretch of water is still of great importance for what is now the Wieland Group's largest plant.

Philipp Jakob Wieland himself did not live to see the triumph of electricity, but a few years after his death, in 1882, electricity from water power was produced at the Voehringen factory for the first time - initially only for lighting purposes. Six years later, three turbines were already in operation in the former mill - and only one water wheel was left. After the river Iller’s canal was laid, a new hydroelectric power station with three turbines and attached boiler house was built in 1905. At the same time, the so-called "intermediate plant" with two additional turbines was built offsite.

Wieland has been producing environmentally friendly electricity from hydropower since 1905. The Francis turbines installed in the 1960s have a total capacity of 900 kilowatts and generate around 7 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Although this covers only a small part of the energy required in the plant, it is sufficient to supply 1,750 households uninterrupted with renewable energy. Wieland is thus making a contribution to CO2-neutral, sustainable energy generation which should not be underestimated.

But the canal – popularly known as the "Wieland Canal" – is still important in another respect: a large part of the water produced onsite is drained off via it. For example, the approximately 12 million cubic meters of ground water that are used annually for cooling in production – without any contamination of the water. Or process water, which is expensively treated and purified before being discharged into the canal. Daily sampling ensures that the water is absolutely clean. Last but not least, all rainwater is also drained off in this way; the roof drainage of the Voehringen plant is effected via the canal.

Wieland is a member of the Iller Canal Association, which coordinates the interests of all hydropower users along the canal. This includes, for example, the canal survey carried out every three years, during which the canal is cleaned, dams are rehabilitated and turbines are maintained over a period of two weeks.

Power station

Power plant II, built in 1905, is located outside the plant grounds. With a water flow of 14 cubic meters per second, the two turbines each have an output of 200 kilowatts.

Power station

Power plant I is located within the Voehringen plant. Historically, it dates back to the mill, for which Philipp Jakob Wieland purchased the site on the river Iller in 1864.

Turbines in power station

The three Francis turbines in Power Plant I have long been monitored electronically. They continuously generate a combined output of 500 kilowatts, completely climate-neutral.