Further development and evaluation of technical measures for fish protection and downstream fish migration in the operation of hydro power plants – possibilities for fish-friendly plant operation


Key Data

Goal: Biological function control of a modified turbine

Method: In-situ investigations with autonomous sensors CFD

Duration: October 2018 to June 2022

Partner: 2



Elena-Maria Klopries

Leitende wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin


+49 241 80 25271


  View of the turbine outlet of a hyro power plant Copyright: © IWW View of the turbine outlet of a hyro power plant

Description and goals

The objective of the research project is to quantify the effects of a turbine modified for fish protection in comparison to a conventional Kaplan turbine. From this, general indications are to be derived for the applicability of modified turbines for the protection of fish populations at large hydro power plants. The biological function control of the turbines is carried out by a combination of three investigation methods:

  • Injection experiments with live animals to record damage patterns,
  • Injection experiments with autonomous sensors to record the hydraulic loads and
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for the visualization of physical processes
  Close-up of a sensor fish Copyright: © IWW Autonomous sensor

The IWW is part of an interdisciplinary team of biologists and engineers who work on the complex issues of the biological evaluation of turbines. The IWW is in charge of the investigations in the course of the injection experiments with the autonomous sensors for the determination of the hydraulic load. Sensors are repeatedly introduced into the turbines and the physical loads during turbine passage are recorded. After the turbine passage, the sensors can be recovered from the tailrace of the hydro power plant and data can be downloaded. In addition, the IWW supports the implementation and evaluation of the CFD modelling. Hereby, the focus is on the identification of the damage processes and the locations of the damage. Finally, the results of all investigations are combined and interpreted for an overall assessment of the biological effects.


Partners and promotion

The research project is commissioned by the German Environment Agency (UBA) with the technical support of the Division Inland waters II 2.4. Funding is provided from the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under research code 3717432470.

The main contractor of the project is the office for environmental planning, water management and fisheries (BUGeFi). The IWW acts as subcontractor in the project.

Logo of the Büro für Umweltplanung, Gewässermanagement und Fischerei Logo of the Umweltbundesamt