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Turbine Design

Designing New Turbines with Biologically-Based Tools

Turbines are the machines at the heart of hydropower projects. PNNL is working with the Department of Energy and industry partners to accelerate the development of new turbine designs that meet power production goals while also minimizing impacts to fish populations.

Biologically Based Design and Evaluation (BioDE)

Biologically based Design and Evaluation

Our DOE-funded Biologically Based Design and Evaluation (BioDE) project leverages our award-winning tools and merges it with computational modeling to gain a complete understanding of fish behavior towards turbines, stressors within turbines, and the effects of turbines on fish species. This project will lead to the development of specialized software tools industry and regulators can use to design and evaluate more fish-friendly turbines, which will in turn allow for the more efficient and cost-effective operation of hydropower facilities.

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Composite Turbines

Biologically based Design and Evaluation

Improved, screw-shaped turbines could generate electricity in small U.S. waterways like irrigation canals. These hydro turbines, called Archimedes Hydrodynamic Screw turbines, already are widely used in European waters. To lower their cost and make them more feasible for use in the U.S., Kennewick, Washington-based Percheron Power, LLC, wants to make these turbines out of composite materials instead of metal. PNNL researchers are using advanced computer models to help Percheron advance their turbine designs. PNNL researchers will run the models on PNNL's Constance supercomputer to compare the performance of different turbine designs and predict the strength requirements for turbines. Percheron will use the results to build prototype composite turbines and test them in a lab and in the field.

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Water Power Research