River Connectivity Systems, in close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, is playing a leading role in an initiative focused on addressing a broad spectrum of challenges related to water storage and the use of geomembrane liners in pumped storage hydropower projects.
Our team, comprised of professionals from the Hydropower Foundation, the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute, and other valued collaborators, is actively engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders. This includes pumped storage project developers, owners, consultants, constructors, regulators, and researchers. Together, we are dedicated to in-depth discussions and discovery initiatives aimed at resolving regulatory concerns and establishing industry-specific design standards.
Our work is made possible through a generous grant provided by the U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office. We are proud to conduct this initiative in close coordination and with the contributions of the Argonne National Laboratory and the National Hydropower Association (NHA) Pumped Storage Development Council.
We have successfully completed Phase I, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and with the invaluable support of research partners, Alden Labs and Kleinschmidt Associates. This research focused on developing a proof-of-concept for an innovative technology capable of selectively withdrawing water from different levels within the forebay of a hydropower facility. Our approach not only optimizes hydrodynamics but also addresses the challenges of invasive species passage, fostering ecological balance, and enhancing operational efficiency.
Building on the results and findings from Phase I, we are now actively refining and advancing this technology, with the aim of conducting further site-specific testing. Our overarching objective is to create a solution that not only reduces the costs of selective water withdrawal systems but also significantly improves water quality and facilitates fish passage within hydropower facilities.
River Connectivity Systems has successfully completed two Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to advance and commercialize a next-generation, foul-release coating tailored for energy and environmental applications.
Dreissenid mussels, including quagga and zebra mussels, pose a significant threat to the operation and maintenance of hydropower plants. They attach to hard surfaces such as water intakes, trash racks, pipes, and hydraulic equipment, causing operational disruptions and increased maintenance costs. Managing mussel infestations in the Great Lakes region alone costs over $500 million annually. Preventing mussel fouling on hydropower systems is crucial to reducing maintenance costs and unplanned outages.
River Connectivity Systems is actively advancing innovative antifouling coating technologies to combat the detrimental effects of aquatic growth in hydropower facilities and marine applications. We plan to conduct trials in collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the Colorado River to assess the effectiveness of our coatings in preventing quagga mussel fouling, particularly in materials used for Cost-Effective Alternatives to Selective Water Withdrawal Systems.
Additionally, we are developing collaborations with funding agencies and supporters in Washington State to demonstrate the potential of these coatings in ship and boat applications. Through these strategic initiatives, we aim to validate the effectiveness of our technology and contribute to mitigating aquatic growth-related challenges across various industries.
River Connectivity Systems is pioneering the development of cutting-edge fish tagging technology that offers enhanced capabilities for studying fish behavior. Our innovative approach enables a clearer, three-dimensional picture of fish from greater distances, revolutionizing fish passage studies. By harnessing this technology, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of fish activity at a lower cost. This valuable data will inform and enhance efforts to improve fish passage, optimize operations, and implement effective mitigation measures.