ÖBB use world’s first traction current wind turbine for sustainable journeys

The sustainable electricity generated from the wind turbine will supply energy for 1,400 journeys from Vienna to Salzburg.


(L-R) Leonore Gewessler,Minister of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology and Andreas Mattha, CEO of ÖBB. - Credit: ÖBB/Roland Rudolph

ÖBB has built the world’s first traction current wind turbine in Höflein, Lower Austria. The wind turbine has an output of around 3MW (megawatts) and supplies energy for around 1,400 train journeys on the Vienna to Salzburg route each year. The “tip height” of the wind turbine is about 200m and the diameter of the rotor is 112m. This is longer than a football field. The total cost of the project is around €6 million.

Self-sufficient energy

In the coming years, ÖBB wants to increase the proportion of its own generation to 80 per cent. That means becoming as energy self-sufficient as possible and independent of energy imports from abroad. The 16.7Hz traction current wind turbine in Höflein will make a significant contribution to reaching this goal. The energy generated is fed directly into the overhead line of the railway. This direct feed largely avoids the need for new electrical lines and means that the trains are supplied with 100 per cent green wind energy directly and with little loss.

“The ÖBB not only represent the backbone of public transport in Austria, they are also a reliable partner for more climate protection,” Leonore Gewessler, Climate Protection Minister, said. “With the construction of the world’s first traction current wind turbine, ÖBB is making an important contribution to climate neutrality in 2040 and energy autonomy in Austria. With the self-generated clean electricity, an important step has been taken towards increasing the proportion of self-generated electricity.”

“I’m incredibly proud that today we put the world’s first wind turbine for traction current into operation,” Andreas Matthä, CEO of ÖBB, said. “This is a major innovative milestone for the green future of mobility and the next step in our energy strategy towards more self-sufficiency and independence. As one of the largest climate protection companies in Austria, we will continue to invest in alternative forms of energy in the future.”

How the turbine works

By feeding the electricity generated directly into the railway’s own network, existing renewable energy resources are used directly where consumption occurs. This relieves the 50 Hertz network and losses during conversion and transport can be avoided. The integration of the current into the overhead line will take place via a newly developed switching station in a transportable container design. The ÖBB thus combine two innovative developments in one project.

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