The electric utility Elektrizitätswerk Mittelbaden Wasserkraft GmbH & Co.KG (EWM WKA) operats two hydropower plants on existing weirs on the river Kinzig in Gengenbach and Offenburg with an energy production of approx. 4,650 MWh/year.

The Kinzig is classified as one of the most important rivers for the re-introduction of the salmon in the Upper-Rhine region. As early as during the planning stages it was therefore necessary to consider a significant ecological enhancement of the river as a main objective beside the realization of a modern, highly efficient and low-maintenance systems engineering.

To achieve this aim, movable hydropower plants of overflow and underflow type was integrated for the first time in this scale into the existing weirs on each location.

The innovative nature of the chosen new systems engineering was already supported by research and development projects as well as by demonstration and test facilities of the foundation Deutschen Bundesumweltstiftung (DBU) in Osnabrück and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in Berlin because this system combines a high degree of environmental sustainability with a highly efficient systems engineering.

Due to the eco-friendly nature of this systems engineering which can be realized on many similar locations in Europe and worldwide, the Ministry of the Environment of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart supported and recommended the submission of an application for the funding of a demonstration plant at the European Commission in Brussels.

The commission that is granting the EU Life application for the implementation of the demonstration plants also classified this systems engineering as of special interest concerning the ecological and economical value and granted the promotion of the project. The project started in 01.10.2006 and was succesful finished on 30.06.2011. The number of the EU Life Environment program project is LIFE06 ENV/D/000485 with the project name: "Moveable HEPP". Further information will provide by the Layman`s report that coverd the whole project activities.

Experts and authorities consider the movable hydropower plant of overflow and underflow type as a system that, in the future, will combine ecology and economy in a previously unattainable degree. After an invitation from former President Horst Köhler the system was therefore introduced to the general public in the context of the German trade fair “Woche der Umwelt“ in 2007 at Bellevue Palace in Berlin. It was also presented in the science television programme Nano on 3 SAT in September 2008.


Characteristics of the EU-Life-Project

Project number:          LIFE06 ENV/D/000485

Period:                          01.01.2006 – 30.06.2011

Max. Grant:                  1.695.398 €


Language / Sprache

Laymans report

report Offenburg

report Gengenbach