July 24, 2014
Journal Article

Computational Tools to Assess Turbine Biological Performance


Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County (GCPUD) operates the Priest Rapids Dam (PRD), a hydroelectric facility on the Columbia River in Washington State. The dam contains 10 Kaplan-type turbine units that are now more than 50 years old. Plans are underway to refit these aging turbines with new runners. The Columbia River at PRD is a migratory pathway for several species of juvenile and adult salmonids, so passage of fish through the dam is a major consideration when upgrading the turbines. In this paper, a method for turbine biological performance assessment (BioPA) is demonstrated. Using this method, a suite of biological performance indicators is computed based on simulated data from a CFD model of a proposed turbine design. Each performance indicator is a measure of the probability of exposure to a certain dose of an injury mechanism. Using known relationships between the dose of an injury mechanism and frequency of injury (dose–response) from laboratory or field studies, the likelihood of fish injury for a turbine design can be computed from the performance indicator. By comparing the values of the indicators from proposed designs, the engineer can identify the more-promising alternatives. We present an application of the BioPA method for baseline risk assessment calculations for the existing Kaplan turbines at PRD that will be used as the minimum biological performance that a proposed new design must achieve.

Revised: February 19, 2015 | Published: July 24, 2014


Richmond M.C., J.A. Serkowski, C.L. Rakowski, B. Strickler, M. Weisbeck, and C.L. Dotson. 2014. Computational Tools to Assess Turbine Biological Performance. Hydro Review 33, no. 6. PNNL-SA-102518.