Natel's Restoration Hydro Turbine Receives MIA Seal of Excellence, Recognized as 2023 MERLIN Product of the Year Award Finalist

February 15, 2023

Natel Energy’s Restoration Hydro Turbine was a Product of the Year finalist this year at the MERLIN Innovation Awards. These awards, part of the MERLIN Project, recognize new and widely applicable solutions for restoring the function or enabling the financial benefit of freshwater ecosystems. Natel's RHT is now available on the MERLIN Marketplace.

Natel’s Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT) is a compact hydroelectric turbine that pairs best-in-class performance with a revolutionary FishSafe™ design. Featuring distinctively thick blades, the RHT uniquely enables safe through-turbine fish passage and the passage of critical river sediment while maintaining hydraulic efficiency.

Across numerous scientific tests, both in the field and in the lab, the RHT has safely passed more than 99% of the river-dwelling fish species tested, including eel, trout, and herring. This modern turbine design provides an ecologically-preferred way to update and build new renewable hydroelectric power worldwide. An increasing number of legislative efforts, like the EU's Nature Restoration Law, promote and incentivize nature-positive solutions like the RHT.

“We are thrilled for the Restoration Hydro Turbine to be recognized by MERLIN as a 2023 Product of the Year finalist,” said Abe Schneider, Natel co-founder and Chief Technology Officer. “We designed the RHT in response to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Hydropower is the world’s largest installed source of renewable energy, and the planet has the potential to increase that tenfold. We hope the RHT provides a new and improved standard for increasing renewable hydropower in a way that prioritizes freshwater ecosystems.”

First introduced in 2019, the RHT has now been used to sustainably power hydro projects around the world, including sites in Oregon and Maine in the United States and in Styria in Austria. Additional RHT hydro projects in development extend to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa and several locations along the Red River in Louisiana, in the US. To date, Natel’s RHT projects have generated more than 130 MW of FishSafe™ renewable electricity around the globe.

More Stories


Meet Clean Energy Champion, Gia Schneider

Meet Clean Energy Champion, Gia Schneider


POWERHOUSE Opinion: Why The Future of Hydropower Should Include Ecosystem Restoration


Natel co-founder Gia Schneider confirmed as IHA Board Member

Natel Energy and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) announce the confirmation of Gia Schneider, CEO and co-founder of Natel Energy, to its Board of Directors for the remainder of the 2023-25 term.