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Innovative fish lift sluice - combined fish lift and lock system (which benefits both power plants and fish population)

Country of Origin: Austria
Reference Number: TOAT20191105001
Publication Date: 5 November 2019

Summary

An Austrian engineering company active in research and development in different fields including water management & protection and agricultural engineering, offers an innovative fish lift system. The outstanding feature is the combination of a fish lift and lock. The product ensures the continuity of flowing waters and further the continued growth of the fish population in spite of power plants. Six pilot locations confirm this. The company is looking for licensees to expand into new markets.

Description

The engineering company is located in the south of Austria and has been active for more than ten years in various water-related projects and now wishes to bring its patented fish lift and lock system into new markets. 

Fish sluices and fish lifts are currently available on the market but as stand-alone pieces and not in combination. In situations where these state of the art solutions are not suitable, a fish lift sluice as a combination of both can be the solution.
Existing fish sluices operated as locks for watercrafts offer no transportation possibility for fish. Only downstream fish migration is technologically possible. On the other hand, state of the art fish lifts are mechanical transport systems where a container is transported from tail to headwater. Downstream fish migration is technologically not possible. The new fish lift sluice combines both systems in one solution. A downstream fish migration is possible and the transport system needs no mechanical operation.

The patented fish lift system guarantees both continuity of flowing waters in addition to the continued growth of the fish population near power plants. This brings benefits for both the power plants and fish population. A clean energy source such as hydropower can be operated without negatively affecting the ecosystem in the waterways.

This fish lift system consists of a shaft with two openings – one at the tailwater level and one at the headwater level. Both openings have an electric slide. The shaft filling works with a pipeline from the headwater into the bottom of the shaft. Inside the shaft is a transport system consisting of a float and a perforated plate with a specific distance between them.

The fish lift system has four process stages:
1. Catch stage: The slide at the bottom is open. The fish find the entrance of the fish lift because of the attraction current. Fish can swim into the shaft.
2. Swing stage: The slide is closed and the shaft filled with water. The transportation system with fish floods simultaneously with the water level in the shaft.
3. Exit stage: The slide at the top is opened. The fish can swim into upstream level.
4. Shaft driving: The slide at the top is closed and the transportation system sinks with the water in the shaft.

It is a low-maintenance system and has comparably mean investment and operational costs because of a vertical shaft, little digging effort even at large height differences between upstream and downstream side. An especially noteworthy aspect of the system is its effectiveness in power plant locations with large height difference and/or small space availability. It is applicable for fluctuating upstream and downstream levels, small power plants and MQ<1,000 l/s (MQ = average outflow). It has an excellent monitoring and control system.

Methods of monitoring:
• weir investigation with fish traps upstream: fish trap in the exit area of the fish lift shaft for fish counting
• video analysis: installation of underwater cameras in the fish lift channel at the transport system to analyse fish behaviour and water currents
• stocktaking and fish labelling: fisheries in upstream and downstream water of the locations; fish markings with visible implant elastomer tags

The Austrian company is looking for license agreements to expand into new markets. These licensees should be engineers who plan the projects themselves and who work and have experience in water management fields. They should already be working in countries like France, UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Albania, Hungary, Romania and Italy. The cooperation partner will get all the necessary support and training as required.
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Advantages and Innovations

• combination of lift and lock 
• downstream fish migration possible
• applicable for fluctuating upstream and downstream levels, small power plants and MQ<1,000 l/s (MQ = average outflow)
• high effectiveness in power plant locations with large height difference and/or small space availability
• space-saving, easy to adapt
• excellent monitoring and control system
• low maintenance in a very limited area
• less building costs because of vertical shaft compared to other solutions
• reduction of construction costs (little digging even at large height differences between upstream and downstream side)
• guarantee of the continuity of flowing water and the continued growth of the fish population near power plants and other obstructions

Stage Of Development

Already on the market

Stage Of Development Comment

There are already six pilot locations with positive monitoring results. Currently another four systems are planned in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Requested partner

The company is looking for licensees to expand internationally.  The cooperation partners should have experience in water management and planned projects on their own. They should already be working in countries were the patents for the fish lift system are granted. The licensees will get all the training, further support and information as needed.

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