Natel’s Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT) enables safe downstream passage across fish species.

What Fish-Safe Means

A “fish-safe” turbine causes negligible injury or mortality to all resident and migratory fish species at all life stages, as compared to natural hazards encountered during a fish’s life cycle.

We conduct original fish passage science and apply a data-informed approach to creating renewable energy solutions that are truly fish-safe.

Why Fish-Safe Turbines?

Downstream migrating fish want to go with the flow, but the conventional approach to fish protection at hydropower plants relies on screening to route fish around turbines through low-flow fishways. This can delay migrations and expose fish to predators. However, many fish still enter turbines where they are subject to traumatic injuries or death. Screened turbines are less effective at protecting fish than fish-safe turbines.

Data-Informed Design

From the beginning, collecting information about how real fish interact with the Restoration Hydro Turbine has been a key part of our design process. We’ve performed controlled laboratory and field studies with biologists and engineering partners from Alden Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Kleinschmidt Associates to understand the effects of the RHT on key fish species across a range of operating conditions.

Why is Live Fish Passage Testing Important?

Natel’s commitment to design and build the most fish-safe, high-performance, compact turbines in the world places fish and their health at the center of all we do. To learn how to protect fish best, the use of fish in scientific research remains critical to the engineering and development of safe and responsible hydropower.

We take our responsibility for the ethical treatment of fish in our research very seriously and abide by all rules and regulations dictated by the American Fisheries Society’s Guideline for Use of Fishes in Research. Furthermore, we ensure compliance with the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and their Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care on Use of Laboratory Animals.

At Natel Energy, the humane treatment of all fish used for hydropower turbine testing is vital, both ethically and scientifically. If the fish are not treated well, the research results are not useful since they cannot be replicated, a critical hallmark of the scientific method.

Our researchers are strong advocates of animal welfare and view their work with fish and fish testing as a privilege. All researchers are obligated to ensure the well-being of fish in their care, in strict adherence to the highest standards, and in accordance with federal and state laws, regulatory guidelines and humane principles.