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Research into eco-friendly small hydropower

Eco-friendly mini hydropower plants will be studied by the Torne River in the far north of Sweden by researchers at Luleå Universtiy of Technology (LTU).

LTU develops mini hydropower systems that can be used in small-, and in parts of, large rivers. At Kukkolaforsen along the Torne River, there is such a small lateral flow in conjunction with a fishing museum next to the tourist facility in the village.

The LTU-scientists are going to test hydropower turbine blades, water lubricated bearings and how fish can pass

“We want to show that fish and other wildlife remains intact, and that tourism businesses can benefit from our solutions, while the water energy used efficiently enough. However, the project is not designed to open roads for the development of our protected natural rivers. On the contrary, a better utilisation of water energy in other places will reduce the extension of protected rivers,” says Staffan Lundström Professor at Luleå University of Technology

Lundström and his group will develop a hydropower system that works in both small and large parts of the watercourse, in cooperation with the Swedish power industry, regional small businesses and other researchers in the field of fish migration.

As water-lubricated bearings can be used in the hydropower turbines instead of oil, and through designing hydropower turbine blades in an optimal way, it should be possible to develop environmentally-friendly mini hydropower.

The project also includes streaming technology to find methods that prevent fish from entering the hydropower turbines.

The study will run for three years.

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