In many ways, the Danube functions as a main artery for voestalpine in Linz. No steel could be produced here without the 560 million m³ of cooling water taken from the Danube each year. This makes water management a subject of strategic importance.
11.2 million swimming pools
The Pichlingersee is an artificial lake excavated during the construction of the voestalpine plant in Linz, and has a surface area of 31 hectares and an average depth of 4.5 meters. All the water in this lake would only provide enough water for voestalpine to cool the plant for 34 hours. Thank goodness we have the Danube. The river water is drawn in to the west of the voestalpine power plant in Linz. Running through a 25-km underground canal system, the river effectively functions as the plant’s arterial system. The network distributes the Danube water into canals, some accessible, over the entire plant grounds. Well water and rain water are also used for cooling. The effectiveness of the Danube water as a cooling agent depends on its temperature. This can range from 7°C on average in winter to a maximum 23°C in summer. The cooler the water, the less is needed.
The plant has its own closed water circuits. The Danube water functions as a heat exchange medium, reducing the temperature of the plant’s own cooling water. Therefore, the Danube water is not contaminated with metallic sediments. Each year, the equivalent of 11.2 million swimming pools, each 50 m³ in size, flows through the plant grounds. The water is returned to the river at several points, and is subject to strict official measurements as a matter of course. Both temperature and pH value are constantly transmitted online to the authorities, who monitor the water quality on an ongoing basis. All of the exit canals are fitted with water separators, such as air locks, so that in the event of an oil leak or the presence of other contaminants the exits are immediately locked to protect the water.
Thus, the Danube remains one of Europe’s cleanest rivers, both upstream and downstream of voestalpine.
More on the voestalpine Klangwolke 2014 “Blue Danube moves!”: www.voestalpine.com/klangwolke