Natel's FishSafe™ Designs Named Hydropower Solution of the Year

April 10, 2024

Natel's FishSafe™ turbine designs have been awarded Hydropower Solution of the Year by the CleanTech Breakthrough Awards. This recognition acknowledges Natel’s revolutionary new approach to hydropower engineering and underscores Natel’s commitment to driving innovation and environmental stewardship in the hydropower industry.

The CleanTech Breakthrough Awards honors breakthrough achievements and innovations in the international clean technology sector. With a focus on acknowledging companies, products, and individuals who are driving sustainability and environmental consciousness worldwide, the awards program recognizes the most innovative solutions and services in the marketplace.

“We are honored to receive the Hydropower Solution of the Year award from the CleanTech Breakthrough Awards,” said Gia Schneider, Chief Executive Officer at Natel Energy. “This recognition is a testament to our relentless commitment to innovation and sustainability in the hydropower industry. We remain dedicated to driving positive environmental impact and advancing clean technology solutions to fight climate change in a more biodiverse future.”

Natel’s FishSafe™ turbine designs represent a crucial opportunity for the hydropower industry to maintain or increase renewable energy production while hugely improving the environmental impact of hydropower plants. Natel's turbine design innovation enables both safe fish passage and high-speed operation for a wide variety of turbine types, configurations, and sizes.

With peak hydraulic performance exceeding 90%, Natel’s turbine designs deliver performance comparable to conventional turbine shapes. Moreover, Natel’s FishSafe™ designs offer ease of use and manageability, serving as in-place replacements for existing turbine models without requiring modifications to civil works. This functionality ensures seamless integration into existing hydropower installations, reducing install costs and complications.

Natel has pioneered unique methods for turbine design focused on fish safety in hydropower applications. Through rigorous testing and refinement, Natel has achieved fish passage survival rates of 98-100% across multiple fish species and life stages, at high blade speeds. FishSafe™ turbines are currently in operation at power plants in the US and Austria.

Natel's turbine designs are not only efficient and environmentally responsible, but recent research suggests that installing a FishSafe™ turbine is more cost-effective than installing a conventional turbine and implementing traditional fish exclusion technologies.

Beyond economic benefits, Natel’s innovative turbine designs can have a profound positive impact on freshwater ecosystems. By significantly improving fish passage and river connectivity, Natel’s solutions support biodiversity, benefiting not only aquatic organisms but also overall river health, water quality, and human populations.

About Natel:
Natel is working to support healthy rivers, promote biodiversity and decarbonize the grid through FishSafe™ hydropower. Natel delivers high-performance FishSafe™ turbine and plant designs informed by industry-leading CFD modeling and analysis. In partnership with turbine manufacturers, Natel designs solutions to upgrade existing hydropower plants and develop new, sustainable projects worldwide, mitigating climate change while curbing biodiversity loss. Natel is a privately held company located in Alameda, California in the United States. Visit or contact for more information.

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