Davis Hydro, LLC
A Davis Collaborative Company


Sagebien Turbine Fish Passage
Project Abstract

Original research was undertaken in the Amorocho hydraulics lab at UC Davis investigating possibilities of enabling fish passage through low head dams using a Sagebien waterwheel. A transparent 3’ diameter wheel was constructed with the objective of testing its adaptability to pass fish up and down stream. The flume was 23” wide from .3 to almost 1.0 cfs of water for power and fish passage using a range of fish and internal blade configurations and speeds.

The Sagebien Wheel was tested for power at two speeds over a range of heads. The wheel developed a maximum of about 64 % mechanical efficiency. No fish would pass upstream through the wheel irrespective of speed, number of blades, or their shape. Downstream passage was effected in 3 cases. Two fish were cut by the wheel during passage.

The main impediment to fish passage was not the wheel, but difficulty of interesting fish to enter the wheel. Subsequent investigations of fish herding to and into the wheel were made. Two methods of herding fish were explored: a loop bubble curtain that was slowly dragged to and from the wheel, and an array of fixed loops activated in sequential patterns. Both succeeded.

In summary, the Sagebien wheel is efficient mechanically, but unlikely to be useful for transporting fish through dams due to its unattractiveness to fish. Bubble curtains were effective at moving fish to the wheel when the curtain surrounded the fish. Bubble curtains may prove very useful in large dam applications.

A draft final report is available here (723 kbytes). This has not yet been accepted as final by the California Energy Commission and does not constitute in any manner a CEC approved report. It is published here as a working paper of Davis Hydro. The report appendices are available as separate files, as follows:


© 2003, Davis Hydro
A Davis Collaborative Company

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