The ecological continuity of flowing water bodies in order to establish a good ecological condition is one of the major challenges for the operation of hydropower plants. Therefore, especially the realization of downstream fish passability can be problematic at medium to large scale power plants because no efficient and at the same time economic solutions exist until now. This caused the University of Innsbruck to develop a new fish protection measure.
The FishProtector consists of horizontally tensioned steel cables which are installed in the upstream section of a hydropower plant in front of the turbine intakes and a voltage is applied (fig. 1). This protects the fish from a potentially dangerous turbine passage according to the principle of a “pasture-fence for fish” and guides them safely past the power plant via a lateral bypass. Its´ application is especially suitable for the ecological upgrade of existing plants, but also for the newly constructed power plants. With technically possible spans of up to 100 m, the system is suited also for large facilities.