The redesigned power plant exhibit at the bi-national Jochenstein power plant on the Danube was ceremoniously opened today in the presence of honorary guests from Austria and Bavaria. At the core of the tour is a mobile phone app with which visitors’ smartphones can be upgraded to 3D glasses. Unique virtual reality technology reveals the secrets of electricity generation and life in the Danube.
In the presence of representatives from the Free State of Bavaria, the District of Passau and the Province of Upper Austria, VERBUND Chairman of the Board Wolfgang Anzengruber was the first to walk through the redesigned power plant tour. "Proven technology and digital innovation are finally allowing us to reveal the great secrets of hydropower," states Wolfgang Anzengruber. "We are pleased to provide the popular Danube cycle route with a further modern attraction."
The Free State of Bavaria was represented by Construction Director Wolf-Dieter Rogowsky from the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection: "Electricity generation from hydropower is a cornerstone of our security of supply. The 3D experience and the redesigned power plant exhibit make an important contribution toward understanding and appreciating this energy source. At the same time, the still-fascinating Jochenstein power plant structure is gaining in attractivity."
Member of State Parliament and Mayor Josef Rathgeb as representative of the Province of Upper Austria stressed: "The bi-national Jochenstein power plant is a well-used bridge between Upper Austria and Bavaria. We hope that with this exhibit along the popular Danube cycle path, we can get even more guests excited about the region."
"The Jochenstein power plant on the Danube has for decades been like a clasp between Bavaria and Upper Austria and is part of our shared regional identity. On both sides of the river, the bi-national power plant is a point of attraction for both tourists and locals who are interested in technology. This function as a magnet will be further intensified by the redesigned exhibit. I hope that as many visitors as possible will discover the exciting secret of hydropower," exults Passau District Administrator Franz Meyer.
Fascinating technology along the Danube cycle path
The impressive structure of the Jochenstein power plant has been delighting visitors for decades already. The challenge was to make the hidden parts of the facility come alive for the visitors. Electricity generation with all its supporting facilities happens completely concealed under water or behind walls. With the free app "Jochenstein Energy Adventure" (Energieerlebnis Jochenstein) and the handy virtual reality glasses, guests can reveal hidden secrets. For the first time, the 7.4 metre impeller becomes visible in its original size, as well as the functioning of the debris screening and the energy transmission. Powerful WiFi allows free downloading of the app onto your own smartphone. The foldable virtual reality glasses can be purchased or rented from the vending machine in the Infocenter or in the Haus am Strom ("house on the current").
The classic exhibit in the former weir keeper’s hut provides an overview of the history of the power plant and the world of electricity generation. While the guests are watching historic construction films from the 1950s in the cinema, their smartphones can be charged up for free with electricity from hydropower.
Knowledge transfer with the VERBUND Electricity School
The virtual reality glasses are free for school groups. The VERBUND Electricity School also makes modern iPhones available for tours, so that the 3D apps are accessible for all the pupils.
Construction history, electricity from hydropower and energy storage
Electricity from renewable sources is part of the energy future. Since renewable energy sources such as wind and photovoltaics are not always available at the touch of a button, electricity storage systems are playing an ever more important role. Since pumped storage power plants are the most technologically efficient solution for this, space is also dedicated to the forward-looking project "Energy Storage Riedl".
In his welcoming address, Michael Amerer as Head of the Danube power plant Jochenstein AG stressed the significance of hydropower for the future: "Sharing glimpses of the history of the Jochenstein power plant does not just mean showing the successful past, but especially also raising awareness of the future. We need the reliability of hydropower for a clean, secure and especially affordable future electricity supply. Thanks to its flexibility and versatility, hydropower is essential for shaping this future. With hydropower we can not only provide a secure basic supply, but it also makes it possible to store energy and with this to compensate as needed for the volatile generation from wind and photovoltaics. The project we have introduced, Energy Storage Riedl, can become another future-oriented chapter for hydropower at this location."
The Energy Storage Riedl project is currently in the approval phase and is intended as a regional contribution towards integrating wind and sun into the energy system.