EPRI releases report on Alden turbine testing

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announces availability of a new technical update, “Fish Friendly” Hydropower Turbine Development and Deployment: Alden Turbine Preliminary Engineering and Model Testing.
This report presents the results of a collaborative research project funded by EPRI, the U.S. Department of Energy, and hydropower industry partners, with the objective of completing the remaining developmental engineering required for a “fish-friendly” hydropower turbine. This turbine, called the Alden turbine, was developed by Alden Research Laboratories.

Earlier engineering and research, started in 1995 and completed in 2008, established a viable conceptual design. Additional engineering completed in 2009 and 2010 included converting a conceptual design with the use of computational fluid dynamics into a machine design that can be built and constructing and testing a physical model of the turbine to evaluate its performance characteristics for economic analysis and mechanical layout.

Completion of these efforts provides a mechanical and electrical design that can be readily adapted to site-specific conditions with additional engineering development comparable to costs associated with conventional turbine designs, EPRI says.

The information provided in the report will be of value in planning new development, adding capacity to existing projects and non-powered dams, harnessing lost power associated with minimum flow and non-turbine discharges for downstream fish passage, and even retrofitting where existing downstream fish passage mortality associated with conventional turbine operation is unacceptable to licensing stakeholders, EPRI says.

EPRI is now preparing for the next phase of the turbine’s development, installation and testing. EPRI is involved in the early stage planning of two demonstration projects, one in the U.S. and one in France. EPRI plans to launch supplemental project opportunities to support both efforts.

In September, DOE announced that EPRI has won $1.5 million, with a cash matching requirement, for a three-year effort to install and test the Alden turbine at Brookfield Renewable Power’s 39-MW School Street project in New York.

The report can be downloaded for free at

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