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16 Projects To Advance Hydropower Technology

September 6, 2011 - 11:24am


U.S. Department Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced nearly $17 million in funding over the next three years for research and development projects to advance hydropower technology. The list of 16 projects in 11 different states can be found here.

   Applicant    Location Award Amount; Funding is from DOE unless otherwise noted       Description
Sustainable Small Hydro (Topic Areas 1.1. and 1.2) 
Earth by Design Bend, OR $1,500,000 This project will develop and test a new low-head modular hydropower technology in a canal in Oregon's North Unit Irrigation District to produce cost-competitive electricity.
Hydro Green Energy Houston, TX $1,500,000 This project will develop, install and evaluate new low-head modular hydropower turbines at a constructed waterway in Austin, TX.
Percheron Power Kennewick, WA $1,495,427 jointly funded by DOE and DOI This project will install the nation’s first Archimedes Hydrodynamic Screw hydropower system in Washington’s Potholes East Canal for evaluation. The system may eventually be deployed at low-head sites throughout the Columbia Basin Project and in other man-made waterways.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District Sacramento, CA $1,494,750 This project will develop a new small powerhouse to utilize the increased minimum flows at Slab Creek reservoir, using a novel approach to siting. The project will show how two smaller units can generate more electricity than one larger unit.
Hydro Green Energy Houston, TX $300,000 This project will design, build, test and validate a stackable, modular low-head hydropower turbine that can be used for water projects such as existing locks and dams that aren’t currently equipped to produce hydropower.
Near Space Systems Colorado Springs, CO $300,000 This project will develop modular designs for new innovative hydropower turbines to harness energy from outlet pipes, incorporating a novel generator design.
Natel Energy Alameda, CA $300,000 This project will develop and evaluate a new type of powertrain for the Schneider Linear hydroEngine, which is expected to decrease the cost of energy for low-head hydropower projects.
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, NM $299,312 This project will design, build, test and validate two prototype devices that will harvest the maximum amount of energy from low-head dams and drops in the waterway.
Walker Wellington Kittery, ME $93,000 This project will validate the design of a direct-drive, modular turbine-generator for manmade water structures with various head and flow conditions. The project will support commercialization of the generator.
Weisenberger Mills Midway, KY $56,000 This project will evaluate variable speed, permanent magnet generators for small low-head hydropower. The new technology could increase efficiency, allowing generators to obtain more energy from the same amount of water.
Sustainable Pumped Storage Hydropower (Topic Areas 2.1 and 2.2)
Sacramento Municipal Utility District Sacramento, CA $4,961,138 This project will reduce risk and subsequent costs by conducting geotechnical investigations of the mountain where the Iowa Hill Pumped Storage project’s water conveyance and powerhouse will be located, and by analyzing the value of energy and ancillary services it will provide. Both tasks are critical in reducing financial uncertainty of the 400 MW pumped storage project that will support integration of variable renewable energy resources such as wind and solar in California. 
Argonne National Laboratory Lemont, IL $1,875,000 This project will model, simulate and analyze operations of an advanced pumped storage hydropower facility in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. The project will provide a comprehensive study of the technical and market operations, economics, and contribution to power system stability of pumped storage hydropower.
Environmental Mitigation Technologies for Conventional Hydropower (Topic Areas 3.1 and 3.2)
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Palo Alto, CA/ Brookfield, NY $1,500,000 This project will deploy and test the fish-friendly Alden Turbine in New York to generate electricity while allowing safe fish passage. The project proposes a three-year installation and test plan to verify model test data and fish survival predictions.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Richland, WA $299,906 This project will re-design the Sensor Fish, a data collection device that measures movement, acceleration, rotation, and pressure changes on the device as it passes through a hydropower turbine, providing more accurate information on the forces that a fish may encounter. The new device, which is expected to be smaller and cheaper than previous devices, could be deployed through a wide range of model and prototype turbine testing, allowing for improved designs safer for fish passage.
Regents of the University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN $250,000 This project will develop a modeling tool to advance the development and implementation of aerating turbines at hydropower facilities to improve water quality. The project will combine a physical test bed with new analytical models for investigating how hydropower turbine blade shape and operation affect oxygen transfer and aeration.
System Testing at Bureau of Reclamation Facility (Topic Area 4)
Natel Energy Alameda, CA/ Madras, OR $746,042   jointly funded by DOE and DOI This project will deploy and test a scaled-up version of the modular Schneider Linear hydroEngine at a Bureau of Reclamation facility in Oregon, validating the commercial performance and economic feasibility of the device in low-head constructed waterway.