News articles

“Firsthand experience of sustainable industries at work”

Report on the first field-trip of the ETIA12 class by Phil Nickovich

group picture ETIA 12

The excursion for the 2018-2020 ETIA class began on the morning of Tuesday, 22nd of October 2019, departing at what was approximately 09:00 am. Not even an hour later, traversing along the A4 highway, the class found itself on the edges of the small town of Bruck an der Leitha (Bridge on the Leitha), a settlement located in Lower Austria (Niederösterreich). The two part visit entailed guided tours to both the “Verbund” wind-turbine farm and an algae production facility run by the “Ecoduna” company. It aimed to provide potential insights to a variety of profession fields and allowed the class to firsthand experience sustainable industries at work. The field trip was concluded by a small sponsored meal in a local restaurant called the “Ungarische Krone” (Hungarian Crown). 

Part 1 – Energiepark/Wind-farm  “Bruck an der Leitha“
Located approximately 50 minutes outside of Vienna, the class of ETIA had arrived what had initially seemed to be nothing more than a simple farm field, with one major difference: Wind-turbines.  Within walking distance, towering at 60 and 135 meters (for the smaller and larger turbines respectively) with rotor blades even larger in diameter, the ETIA students were able to physically walk up to some of the surrounding turbines, receiving an up close and personal look at the clean energy constructs. Following a brief introduction, the guide (Mr. Norbert Koller, MSc) proceeded to provide insights into the history, financial and technical aspects of the “wind park” and its respective turbines, and was more than welcoming to answer any questions of the attending class, before finally taking us to scale the 279 steps up to the top of one of the wind-tower, providing not only a pleasant perspective for a photo opportunity, but also allowing further engagement on a more individual basis with regards to renewable energy, wind turbines and its future.

Part 2 – The Ecoduna Algae Production Facility
A supposed fully sustainable production plant that combines biological, technological, and innovative technologies to produce what can best be described as a “super food”.  After a short presentation that highlighted the history as well as an audience friendly explanation of the production procedure, the ETIA class was offered to try some of their algae infused products first hand, including algae chocolate, tea, supplementation, oil and even algae gin among others. The final part of the visit took us through the cutting-edge, patented and unique Photo-bioreactor system (PBR), which in addition to being visually impressive, was followed up by further information on construction and operation.
Following the presentation, the class was led down to see the facility up close. Here the guide further answered any follow up questions the class may have had and provided deeper insights into the algae growing mechanisms of the PBR system. After a short photo opportunity of and around the emerald coloured algae pipes, the tour concluded with a short stop to Ecoduna’s own local shop where the ETIA class were able to purchase some of their algae based products before stopping for food at a nearby local restaurant and back home to Vienna.