Interim Design Review: A New Approach to Low Head Hydro

Optimist: "The glass is half full!" Pessimist: "The glass is half empty!" Engineer: "The glass is TWICE the size it needs to be!"

Today the glass was more accurately sized. We walked into the conference room ten minutes early to find geotechnical, civil, structural and hydraulic engineers already huddled over LPS's preliminary design sheets. What followed were seven thrilling hours of engineering problem-solving and tuning. The team included PE's, PhD's and other assorted clever folks from GZA GeoEnvironmental, Alden Research Lab, UMD, and LPS.

The result? “This works.”

“This” is a new approach to constructing prefabricated low-cost, low-impact modular hydropower facilities for low-head sites. They are assembled together on site without a separate cofferdam. When it is time to decommission the structure, the modules can be unlocked from each other and lifted out of place leaving behind almost no evidence that they were ever there.

LPS's R&D effort is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

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