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Work to identify how energy devices affect aquatic life

Research under way at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) should help explain how aquatic life might be affected by renewable energy devices.

PNNL is seeking to determine whether fish and invertebrates change their behavior during and after exposure to an electromagnetic field similar to that produced by devices that capture energy from ocean waves, tides, and currents, as well as river flow, says Andrea Copping, oceanographer and principal investigator on the project.

The project involves the use of two specially designed coils at PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory. Each of these Helmholtz coils consists of about 200 pounds of copper wire wrapped into a window frame-like outline roughly 5 feet by 5 feet. The wire carries electricity that creates an electromagnetic field that naturally attracts magnetic materials. The field around the electrical coil can create 0.1 to 3 milliTeslas of flux.

Researchers seek to determine if the electromagnetic field will affect marine and estuarine animal behavior, including migration, finding food, and avoiding predators. Scientists are placing aquarium tanks filled with marine species near the two coils. The field is being activated at various strengths and time periods, and the animals' behavior is being monitored. Scientists also will document whether the animals are attracted to or repelled by the fields, Copping says.

As part of this project, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are examining how electromagnetic fields created by hydrokinetic devices might affect freshwater animals. And researchers from the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University are studying the potential electromagnetic effects on crabs.

If animals demonstrate a noticeable behavior change in the laboratory tests, PNNL researchers may conduct a field study with test animals placed near pilot marine power devices.

This research project began in the summer of 2010 and will continue for two years.

Corps to install PIT tag antennas at Ice Harbor

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to build antenna trenches for a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag fish monitoring system at 603-MW Ice Harbor Dam on the lower Snake River in Washington.

In July 2009, the Corps awarded a contract to Destron Fearing for PIT tag technology for salmon counting at Ice Harbor.

This work is part of a project to develop a PIT-tag system for monitoring salmonids using the spillways at hydro projects in the Columbia and Snake River basins.

Now, the Corps' Walla Walla District will construct a new concrete pier extension, deflector, and ogee surface with four PIT tag antenna trenches in Spillway Bay 2 at Ice Harbor. Work includes installation of four government-furnished PIT tag detectors.

CEATI releases guide for overhaul and retrofit projects

CEATI International Inc. offers Best Practice Guide for Planning and Executing Hydro Overhaul and Retrofit Projects.

Overhauling and retrofitting existing hydro plants to extend life and increase output makes excellent business sense, where economically and technically feasible, the guide says.

However, knowledge on managing the overhaul and retrofit process in the most expeditious and cost-effective manner is elusive, particularly because many experienced staff members are now retired, CEATI says.

The objective of the guide is to provide a series of processes for hydropower companies that will assist them in achieving optimal results from their overhaul and retrofit programs.

The guide covers the full range of processes, from identification of the need or opportunity to the successful implementation and finalization of the project.

Also included in the guide are best practices in enabling strategies that cover the entire process, such as governance, project management, staff resourcing, information technology, and risk management.

This guide was developed by CEATI's hydraulic plant life interest group (HPLIG).

Information sources include the organizations that funded development of the guide, as well as other participants in the HPLIG, equipment suppliers, consultants, contractors, and a literature review.

- To inquire about purchasing this publication, visit the Internet: www.ceati.com/publication-details?publicationid=6069.

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