Movement and collision of Lagrangian particles in hydro-turbine intakes: a case study

Studies of the stress/survival of migratory fish during downstream passage through operating hydro-turbines are normally conducted to determine the fish-friendliness of the hydro-turbine units. This study applies a modelling strategy based on flow simulations using computational fluid dynamics and Lagrangian particle tracking to represent the travel of live fish and autonomous sensor devices through hydro-turbine intakes. For the flow field calculation, the simulations were conducted using a Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes turbulence model and an eddy-resolving technique. For the particle-tracking calculation, different modelling assumptions for turbulence forcing, mass formulation, buoyancy, and release conditions were tested. The modelling assumptions are evaluated with respect to datasets collected using a laboratory physical model and an autonomous sensor device deployed at Ice Harbor Dam (Snake River, State of Washington, USA) at the same discharge and release point modelled in the present work. We found acceptable agreement between the simulated results and observed data and discuss relevant features of Lagrangian particle movement that are critical in turbine design and in the experimental design of field studies.

Author: Romero-Gomez P and Richmond MC

Journal: Journal of Hydraulic Research


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


Tool Type
turbine with dotted lines
Report Type
Journal Article
Journal of Hydraulic Research