Stream sites are abundantly available for small, ultra low head, hydropower applications with minimal environmental and ecological impacts compared to large-scale hydropower projects. However, little attention has been paid to these resources because of the relatively high weight and deployment costs of small turbines compared to the amount of power generated, which results from the use of stainless steel (SS) as the turbine material.

Structural simplification and efficient hydraulic performance are key to effectively utilizing ultra-low head water power resources and reducing hydroelectric unit costs. In this study, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) method was used to predict hydraulic performance of an axial turbine at the Gaoliangjian power station. CFD results agreed well with field test data. Using the same numerical method, a new siphon turbine was then designed based on the original distributor and turbine runner equipment.

In recent years, distributed renewable energy-generation technologies, such as wind and solar, have developed rapidly. Nevertheless, the utilization of ultra-low-head (ULH) water energy (i.e., situations where the hydraulic head is less than 3 m or the water flow is more than 0.5 m/s with zero head) has received little attention. We believe that, through technological innovations and cost reductions, ULH hydropower has the potential to become an attractive, renewable, and sustainable resource.

The bar for justifying the use of vertebrate animals for study is being increasingly raised, thus requiring increased rigor for species selection and study design. Although we have power analyses to provide quantitative backing for the numbers of organisms used, quantitative backing for selection of study species is not frequently employed. This can be especially important when measuring the impacts of ecosystem alteration, when study species must be chosen that are both sensitive to the alteration and of sufficient abundance for study.