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US Department of Energy selects fish friendly turbines

THE US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) has selected fish friendly turbine technology developed by ge-hydro for its programme to promote the development of environmentally friendly hydro power projects.

GE’s fixed blade propeller turbine design was chosen by the DOE’s Idaho Operations Office from among several competing companies’ submissions and resulted in a contract to assist the DOE in developing a fish-friendly turbine specification. DOE incorporated the GE developed criteria into its request for proposals, issued in the spring of 2002, for government-subsidised hydro power projects that reduce fish mortality.

The GE Hydro turbine design incorporates a fixed blade propeller runner, a vaneless distributor and fewer, longer blades, all calculated to reduce the rate of fish mortality and injury by 50% or more. The design minimises extreme pressure gradients, high shear zones, the number of obstructions in the turbine water passages and flow irregularities such as vortices, low pressure zones and cavitation. Fewer wicket gates and a slower turbine rotational speed compared to conventional designs also contribute to an improved survival rate for fish passing through the hydro turbine.

‘This project is another example of GE Hydro’s commitment to the advancement of environmentally beneficial technologies. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Department of Energy in this regard,’ said Robert Balletti, GE Hydro US sales director.

The US Department of Energy’s hydropower programme, administered by the Office of Power Technologies through the Idaho Operations Office, develops, conducts and co-ordinates research and development with industry and other federal agencies to improve the technical, societal and environmental benefits of hydro power.