Spittelau waste-to-energy plant

The Spittelau waste-to-energy plant, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, will be completely revamped by 2015.

Spittelau – a Viennese landmark

The Spittelau waste incineration plant processes around 250,000 tonnes of household waste every year. The plant in the 9th district produces approximately:

  • 120,000 MWh of electricity
  • 500,000 MWh of district heating
  • 6,000 tonnes of scrap iron
  • 60,000 tonnes of clinker, ash and filter cake

The environmentally friendly heating produced at Spittelau is enough to heat more than 60,000 households in Vienna in a year.

Hundertwasser’s work of art

The Spittelau plant was built between 1969 and 1971; in 1987 a fire destroyed major sections of the waste incineration plant. Instead of tearing down the plant, it was rebuilt on the same site. There were two main reasons in favour of this course of action:

  • The entire district heating technology was present at Spittelau.
  • The waste was burned exactly where it was being generated – in the middle of the city.
Spittelau site
Copyright: Wiener Wildnis
The mayor of Vienna at that time, Helmut Zilk, wanted even more though: the new Spittelau should be especially clean and set new standards in protecting the environment. In addition, the new Spittelau should be a work of art. The environmentalist, nature lover and artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser was tasked with designing the new plant.

The building was finished in 1992. Its colourful façade, the golden ball on the chimney, roof greenery and planted trees have made the new Spittelau unmistakable and a Viennese landmark on a par with St Stephen’s cathedral and the Riesenrad Ferris wheel.

What hides behind the colourful façade

The waste brought to the plant is first weighed by a platform scale and stored in a waste hopper approximately 7,000 m3 in size. A gripper arm takes the refuse to the two waste furnaces, where it is then incinerated.

Spittelau thermal waste treatment plant
Copyright: Wien Energie/APA-Auftragsgrafik
The hot flue gases which are produced are passed through a heat exchanger, which produces steam. In the next step, this is used to produce both district heating and electricity. In order to clean the flue gases produced during incineration, Spittelau has a number of state-of-the-art systems. The purified flue gas is released from the chimney at a height of 126 metres.


Fully optimised

Having been in operation for more than 40 years, the plant has become outdated. The current modernisation work under way, which encompasses virtually every aspect of the plant, signals the beginning of a new era for this Viennese landmark.

Spittelau 2.0
Copyright: Wien Energie
Once the work to optimise energy efficiency has been completed in 2015, electricity production will be almost three times as high while, at the same time, saving five million cubic metres of natural gas annually. This will be made possible by the greater efficiency brought by the modernisation of individual parts of the plant.

The art of logistics

Spittelau 2.0
Copyright: Wien Energie/Georg Baresch
The Spittelau waste treatment plant is one of the most logistically challenging energy building sites in Austria. The whole process of renovating the facility is being done while operations continue. A great deal of care is needed in particular because the renovation work is taking place in the middle of the city, where there is no available space to serve as a temporary storage site.

Important parts of the famous Hundertwasser façade have been or will be stored elsewhere temporarily for the renovation work and mounted again afterwards.

Certified quality for our customers

Certified plant at Spittelau
Copyright: Wien Energie/Christian Houdek

Since spring 2009, all heat generating plants operated by Wien Energie, including the Spittelau thermal waste treatment plant, have been certified in line with standards for quality (ISO 9001), occupational health and safety (OHSAS 18001) and the environment (ISO 14001 and EMAS III).