NATURKRAFT, a subsidiary of EAA-EnergieAllianz Austria, in which Energie Burgenland AG holds a ten-per cent stake, and EVN AG and Wien Energie GmbH each hold a 45-per cent stake, is one of the most environmentally-friendly electricity suppliers in Austria.
The company has set itself the goal of supplying electricity to customers exclusively from renewable energy sources (water, wind, biomass, geothermal energy, solar, etc.). The origin of its electrical energy as well as the associated environmental impacts is checked annually by TUV AUSTRIA and confirmed by means of a certificate.
TUV AUSTRIA checks NATURKRAFT’s supply sources to provide consumers, companies, cities and municipalities with the assurance that the green electricity they purchase is produced in a sustainable manner in Austria. NATURKRAFT receives a relevant confirmation from TUV AUSTRIA if it is established that the electricity comes from the renewable sources that customers have been assured of.
When the facilities are stopped in a six-year cycle at the OMV refinery in Schwechat, there is a reason for it: legally prescribed cleaning, maintenance, and inspection work. To be able to service and inspect a plant of this size, the shutdowns are split into two-year periods. After the crude oil processing section last year, this year it is the turn of the petrochemical area. TUV AUSTRIA has been a safety services partner for OMV for a long time.
A large team of authorized experts will be on-site until mid-June. Every pressure vessel, every new welded joint, and every flange connection is inspected with the utmost meticulousness by TUV AUSTRIA technicians – a substantial contribution to ensuring the plant’s safety and environmentally sound operation for the coming years. For TUV AUSTRIA’s experts, however, the focus is not only on the technical safety of the plant, but just as important is the issue of occupational safety within the scope of the inspection. Correct behaviour in any danger scenario is practised in numerous training sessions. This is to make sure nothing happens if anything should ever happen.
Systematic assessment from planning to commissioning
Safety technology has developed greatly over the last few years. Although safety devices for pressure equipment and systems are today still being realized with mechanical safety equipment, such as safety valves and rupture discs, a trend towards electronic safety devices is becoming increasingly apparent.
The normative and safety requirements for such so-called MCR protection systems (measurement, control, and regulation devices, including, for example, overfill protection for containers and safety chains for steam boilers) are very high and require a systematic assessment from planning to risk analysis and all the way to execution and commissioning.
Being a safety services partner of OMV’s for many years, TUV AUSTRIA invests a great deal of time and training to ensure its specialists have top-of-the-line qualifications. All departments within the large team of refinery inspectors consequently have the necessary expertise for such safety equipment.
The preparatory work for testing the MCR protection systems had already started a few months before the refinery was shut down. While the plant is stopped, all the safety equipment will be subjected to appropriate tests, examinations, and assessments until mid-June, so as to allow the systems to continue to be operated safely and reliably in the future too.
Efficient test methods, safe facilities
By developing its own test methods, the TUV AUSTRIA materials technology unit has achieved a high reputation both domestically and abroad in non-destructive testing of materials. These are methods for assessing the internal condition of materials and welded seams, containers and pipelines, without having to cut open the container or the pipeline. Physical, optical, and chemical parameters allow an accurate assessment of a material’s state, making, for example, even the finest cracks visible.
Acoustic emission is also included in non-destructive testing. This method can be used to determine the condition of a container or pipeline with regard to cracks and corrosion. Depending on the application, this examination can even be performed during the ongoing operation of the systems. Acoustic emission is therefore a time- and money-saving method to examine plants to be sure they are in a safe condition.
In addition to the classical methods of non-destructive testing, modern imaging methods are also used in inspecting the OMV refinery in Schwechat to determine the current condition of the systems. Depending on the results of these tests, specific repairs are made or, if necessary, components are replaced.
TUV AUSTRIA provides guidance and support in setting up test environments. In the next three years, TUV AUSTRIA will be a strategic setup partner of ALP.Lab, the Austrian Light Vehicle Proving Region for Automated Driving. With the project partners AVL, Magna, TU Graz, Joanneum Research, ASFINAG, AIT, TTTech, and Siemens, testing will be carried out on how highly automated vehicles can prevent traffic accidents, which are caused by human error in over 90 percent of cases.
Digitrans, an exploratory project to establish a test region for automated and connected driving in freight transport, is supported by AIT, Automobile Cluster Upper Austria (Automobilcluster Oberösterreich), ASFINAG, Rosenbauer, Hodlmayer, Kapsch, and MAN. TUV AUSTRIA is involved as an associate project partner. TUV AUSTRIA also participates in the innovative project auto. bus – Seestadt with safety- & IT-security for systems used in highly automated driving. In Vienna’s new district, technologies are to be tested for autonomous driving in public passenger transport and local public transport. In this three-year project, TUV AUSTRIA is a partner of Wiener Linien, Wiener Stadtwerk, Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit, AIT, Siemens and nauva.
New vehicle system architectures with redundancies will be necessary for the near future which transfers control to the human driver in a defined manner in driving modes that are no longer controllable. The functional safety of automated vehicles is ensured by fail-operational systems. These have a host of sensors (camera, radar, light detection, and ranging – LiDAR) for the redundancies required. New high-performance steering units are in the planning to manage the fusion of incoming data with its associated processing.
High requirements are naturally posed for safety-related actuators, like brakes and steering. As in all technical fields, TUV AUSTRIA provides guidance and support for ongoing development, with analyses of scenarios and situations to enable automated and connected driving functions.
No matter whether it be a large vehicle fleet or a manageable number of company vehicles – there is a lot of potential in optimizing any vehicle fleet. This begins with the right choice of vehicle or appropriate financing and ranges from professional fleet management to fuel cards and recycling end-of-life vehicles.
With its interdisciplinary know-how in the areas of fleet management, transport, CO2 reduction, electric mobility, charging infrastructure, and photovoltaic plants as well as funding opportunities, TUV AUSTRIA offers companies a unique portfolio of services. With “e-fleet”, TUV AUSTRIA developed an offering in 2016, with which companies not only make a big contribution toward preserving the environment and set an example for greater awareness but also save money. Experts have calculated that people who drive electric vehicles not only drive at significantly less cost than they would with conventional fuel but they also save around 35 percent in maintenance expenses.
E-fleet helps save money e-fleet identifies instances of existing potential in a vehicle fleet and makes them transparent, managing them effectively and efficiently with the help of an innovative online administration portal.
This gives companies a comprehensive account of vehicles, infrastructure, and contracts, all in one place. Special features include, among other things, a compilation of reports according to customized needs and an optional driver’s logbook for each employee. All vehicles are centrally managed in a modern database and constantly compared with new reference vehicles. This allows those in charge of vehicle fleets always to know which vehicle is currently best suited to their needs.
In addition, in-service training is offered in the subjects of fleet management, electric mobility, and the Austrian Federal Energy Efficiency Act. In addition to promoting electric mobility, TUV AUSTRIA is a competent go-to partner for gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles, for vehicle conversions, tuning, and type approvals. With testing locations in Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, and Styria, TUV AUSTRIA experts are always close to the motor community in Austria and southern Germany. On top of that, the company also operates one of the largest wheel and tire databases in Europe and has long been a sought-after partner for wheel and tire tests.