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Hundreds of surrogate "fish" will be put to work at dams around the world through an agreement between ATS—Advanced Telemetry Systems—and the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to improve operations and increase sustainability.
PNNL developed the Sensor Fish to understand what happens to fish as they pass through turbulent waters and turbines at hydroelectric facilities. The Sensor Fish is a small autonomous device filled with sensors that analyze the physical stressors that fish, such as juvenile salmon, experience when passing through or around dams.
Technology - ATS - Process - Technology - Transfer
The technology was recently licensed to ATS through a process known as technology transfer, which enables federally-funded research to be made commercially available.
The sensors provide dam operators and fisheries researchers with accurate, physical measurements such as acceleration, pressure, rotational velocity and orientation, which convey what real fish experience during downstream passage. Each sensor provides roughly 2,000 measurements per second and typically takes less than two minutes to pass through the dam due to the water's velocity.
Majority - Juvenile - Salmon - Steelhead - Passing
"The vast majority of juvenile salmon and steelhead passing through the turbines survive without injury in the Columbia River Basin," said Daniel Deng, a Laboratory Fellow at PNNL. "Still, we want to understand more about the injuries and mortality that do occur from abrupt pressure changes in dam turbine chambers. The Sensor Fish provides information to help engineers design more fish-friendly turbines going forward."
Once the Sensor Fish comes out on the other side of the dam, an automatic retrieval system brings it to the surface. Radio signals and flashing LED lights from the Sensor Fish will then allow them to be collected quickly from boats stationed nearby.
Sensor - Fish - Value - Field - Studies
The Sensor Fish has demonstrated its value in many field studies, for which Deng's team has built individual Sensor Fish in their lab at PNNL. Now, with the technology licensed to ATS, the manufacturing...
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