With an increasing demand for renewable energy throughout the world, the ability to produce power while minimizing carbon dioxide emissions and other environmental impacts has become a driving force in the continued development of hydropower. A new hydropower technology that has the potential to meet power demands without impacting fish is the Alden turbine, which was developed through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) former Advanced Hydro Turbine Systems Program and with support from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The Alden turbine is designed to allow the safe passage of downstream migrating fish through an operating turbine. Given the high rates of turbine passage survival, the Alden turbine could be used to generate power using flows that are otherwise spilled over dams or through bypasses to meet fish passage or minimum flow criteria.
The patented Alden turbine is different from any existing turbine design and incorporates features to reduce fish injury and mortality associated with damaging shear and pressures as well as blade strike.
• radial inlet from special flow distributor
• only three blades to reduce strike
• an attached shroud to eliminate gaps
• Efficiency: 94%
• Fish survival: > 98% for fish less
than 8 inches in length
• Eel and sturgeon survival: > 99%
• Head range: 20 ft to 120 ft
• Flow per unit: 500cfs to 2500 cfs
Current technology status
A pilot-scale biological evaluation was conducted in 2002 and 2003 with 40,000 fish and showed very high survival rates when scaled to full size units (> 96%). Voith Hydro of York, Pennsylvania, selected as the exclusive turbine manufacturer, has completed preliminary engineering of all turbine components and will be prepared to issue quotes in the Spring of 2011. EPRI is planning a field installation and fish survival demonstration, to be completed by 2013.
For more information, email or call Greg Allen, PE at +1.508.829.6000 ext. 6409