Innovations for Low-Impact Hydropower Growth

Project Name: Advanced Compact Generation Module with Fish Safe Runner Technology 

Project Team: Natel Energy (lead) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 

Lead Recipient Location: Alameda, California 

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Natel Energy developed a solution validated by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to help fish move safely through hydropower facilities. Natel’s Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT) has a unique design with thicker blades, rounded leading edges, and a forward slant from the blade’s hub to its tip. Natel and PNNL tested the passage of American eel and rainbow trout, ranging from 8-20 inches in length, through the RHT. Collectively, more than 99% of fish passed safely through the turbine. The RHT is the first turbine in the industry to enable safe passage for large and small fish while still meeting high performance metrics and matching standard installation configurations for multiple sizes and configurations of hydropower facilities. This innovation demonstrates significant progress in efforts to preserve biodiversity while advancing renewable energy production.      

A large blue and white turbine is shown outside a warehouse building
Natel Energy's Restoration Hydro is designed to make it easier for fish to navigate through hydropower facilities without getting hurt. Image from Natel Energy

Innovations for Low-Impact Hydropower Growth Projects