VERBUND and Art students set new trends in Pylon design


On the occasion of the first Power Grid innovation forum in the new regulation and control centre, Power Grid Control, VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid presented new approaches in design for the construction of pylons.

These pylon design studies have been developed by students at University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz. In the coming months the experts of VERBUND's grid subsidiary will explore the feasibility of the pylon designs.

It was all about pylon aesthetics for VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG, within the framework of its cooperation with the scionic® I.D.E.A.L. (Industrial Design Education Austria Linz) department of the University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz. Under the guidance of department head Univ. Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Axel Thallemer, fourteen of the institute’s students were assigned with the design of a 380 kV suspension pylon. "The design of a pylon was a completely new challenge for my students and me," admits Prof. Thallemer. "Our goal was to develop aesthetic variants to the existing pylon images, without losing their functional qualities. I am very proud of my students, who have developed exciting designs. I would like to issue a very good report to those responsible at VERBUND. Their pylons are already very close to optimum functionalism."
In the coming months the experts of VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid will explore the feasibility of the pylon designs. Alongside structural engineering practicability, the question of acceptance by the population will be given special attention.

"Aesthetic innovation in the grid": strengthening acceptance of infrastructure projects
Whereas large infrastructure projects met with hardly any controversy during the fifties and sixties, in recent times it has become increasingly difficult to find social acceptance for necessary infrastructural measures. This also applies to the very important expansion of the power supply grid. "As Austria’s largest power grid operator, it is our statutory obligation to durably and sustainable guarantee the Republic’s power supply security," explain Dr. Heinz Kaupa and Mag. Thomas Karall, members of the board of VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG. "In addition to this comes an increasingly important role that we are playing in the integration of the steadily growing emergence of wind power in Europe. These developments make it urgently necessary to have a rapid expansion of the power grids and super grids." In view of the growing reservation among the population, VERBUND has spent years concerning itself not just with the ecological soundness of their line construction projects, but with the social tolerance as well. In its planning guidelines, the grid operator makes a commitment to plan and implement its overhead lines in a way that is as optimally adapted to the natural environment as possible. In 1998 the "Büro für die Organisation angewandter Sozialforschung" (Bureau for the Organization of Applied Social Research, or "BOAS") was commissioned with an examination of observers' subjective impressions of overhead lines. The so-called "NANU" study delivered important information for the planning of overhead line projects, which was taken into account for all master plan projects of VERBUND-Austrian Power Grid AG.

Overhead lines are the most frequently employed technology worldwide for power transmission across wide stretches
Overhead lines are by far the most reliable form of power transmission on the high-voltage and maximum voltage levels. Proof of this is the fact that umpteen thousand kilometres of overhead line are in planning or construction. Overhead line construction also has a long tradition in Austria. During the course of the years, there has also been a correspondingly enormous advancement in overhead line technology. "The sometimes very difficult topographic and meteorological conditions in the Alpine republic present the constructors of domestic lines with great challenges," explains Ing. Herbert Lugschitz, VERBUND line construction expert, speaking from experience. "Over the decades, the overhead line technology has thus also developed into by far the most well-tested and reliable form of power transmission in the high-voltage area. However, in order to improve the acceptance of line construction projects among the population, we have already spent several years devoting ourselves to the aesthetic aspects in overhead line construction as well."