Field-based Assessment of Biological Performance of Hydropower Turbines



The Hydropower Biological Evaluation Toolset (HBET) relates data collected by field-based sensors (e.g., Sensor Fish, acoustic telemetry) to biological response models for downstream fish passage at hydropower facilities. This information enables hydropower operators and hydropower turbine designers to the identify risks and physical stressors that may impact fish and come up with alternatives to improve biological performance. As opposed to BioPA, HBET is using direct measurements of water flow conditions, coupled with experimental data to estimate the impacts of hydropower turbines to fish. HBET incorporates several different dose-response relationships, including rapid decompression, shear, and strike.

 Above: HBET toolset, depicting the different parameters and species that can be selected. 
Sensor Fish deployment
HBET is designed for use with the Sensor Fish, which are deployed at hydropower structures to measure physical stressors that fish experience during downstream passage.
Data from the Sensor Fish is downloaded and incorporated into the HBET toolset to better understand the probability of injury and mortality that fish face during downstream passage.  

What species can be evaluated using HBET?

HBET can currently be used to evaluate the biological performance of hydropower turbines on over 20 species of fish including Chinook salmon, American eel, American shad, bluegill, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout. PNNL can incorporate additional biological response models in future versions of HBET. 

Who uses HBET?

Sensor Fish and HBET have been used by hydropower owners/operators, researchers, and environmental consultants to conduct studies on hydraulic structures including turbines, spillways, weirs and fish passage systems in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Laos, and the United States. For more information on specific applications of HBET, please visit the Applications page and the Library.

Currently, licenses for HBET are held by seven entities including Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen and Natel.


HBET computer requirements:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor*
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • HBET requires SQL Server 2012 or newer.

HBET was designed for the following operating systems:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 7

HBET was designed for the following operating systems:

  • Windows 10 and Windows 7, with the following settings:

    • Country or region: United States

    • Regional format: English (United States)

    • Windows display language: English (United States)




Interested in using HBET?