A Hydropower Biological Evaluation Toolset (HBET) for Characterizing Hydraulic Conditions and Impacts of Hydro-Structures on Fish

Approximately 16% of the world’s electricity and over 80% of the world’s renewable electricity is generated from hydropower resources, and there is potential for developing significantly more new hydropower capacity. In practice, however, optimizing the use of potential hydropower resources is limited by various factors, including environmental effects and related mitigation requirements. That is why hydropower regulatory requirements frequently call for targets to be met regarding fish injury and mortality rates. The sensor fish (SF) is a small autonomous sensor package that can be deployed through complex hydraulic structures, such as a turbine or spillway, to collect high resolution measurements that describe the forces and motions that live fish would encounter. The Hydropower Biological Evaluation Toolset (HBET), an integrated suite of science-based tools, is designed to use the SF (implemented) and other tools (to be implemented in the future) to characterize the hydraulic conditions of hydropower structures and provide quantitative estimates of fish injury and mortality rates resulting from exposure to various physical stressors including strike, pressure, and shear. HBET enables users to design new studies, analyze data, perform statistical analyses, and evaluate biological responses. It can be used by researchers, turbine designers, hydropower operators, and regulators to design and operate hydropower systems that minimize ecological impacts in a cost-effective manner. In this paper, we discuss the technical methodologies and algorithms implemented in HBET and describe a case study that illustrates its functionalities.

Authors: Hou H, et al.

Link: https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/11/4/990

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office

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Journal Article