FIThydro – Fishfriendly Innovative Technologies for Hydropower



Peter Rutschmann (FIThydro Coordinator) 
Hany Abo El Wafa (FIThydro Project Manager)
Technical University of Munich

FIThydro, Fishfriendly Innovative Technologies for Hydropower, was a European Commission-funded Horizon 2020 project with 26 partners from 10 European countries and a total budget of 7.2 million Euros. The project, led by the Chair of Hydraulic Engineering at the Technical University of Munich, highlighted the important role of hydropower as a renewable, CO2 free energy in Europe. FIThydro addressed the decision support in commissioning and operating hydropower plants (HPP) by use of existing and innovative technologies. It concentrated on mitigation measures and strategies to develop cost-efficient environmental solutions and on strategies to avoid individual fish damage while enhancing population developments. Therefore, HPPs all over Europe were involved as test sites.

Figure 1: FIThydro Test case – Altusried Hydropower Plant, Germany (© Oliver_König)

The most important outcomes of the project are briefly explained below:

Decision Support System - DSS (Lead: the University of Hull, UK): The FIThydro DSS ( ) is a systematic, risk-based, open-access online assessment tool to guide users to environmentally (fish-)friendly hydropower production and safe fish passage, through the planning, development and operation of existing and new hydropower schemes, including the revision of permits [2].
FIThydro Wiki (Lead: Sintef Energy Research, Norway): The FIThydro Wiki ( ) is an open access online platform that provides an overview of and information on different mitigation measures in the context of fish friendly hydropower. The mitigation measures are classified according to various parameters. Each measure has a suggested procedure with recommended methods, tools and devices for different stages of implementation. The FIThydro Wiki is closely linked to the DSS [3].


Figure 2: FIThydro Wiki

European Fish Hazard Index-EFHI (Lead: The Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Germany): The EFHI is a referenced, index-based assessment scheme for fish hazards at hydropower environments. Beyond the pure impact assessment, this index species-specifically guides the derivation and improvement of target fish populations in hydropower environments. The EFHI is the first European-wide guidance and assessment tool for ensuring more environmentally and especially fish-friendly hydropower production [4].
Cumulative Impact Assessment - CIA tool (Lead: University of Hull, UK): The CIA tool is an evidence-based guidance on the assessment of environmental impacts from multiple HPP schemes in a single river basin. The model is based on fish life history strategies and provides a GIS-based tool that can model potential basin scale impacts and support informed decision-making on siting HPP schemes and mitigation planning.
Furthermore, a set of devices and computational tools have been developed to protect individual fish and to enhance upstream and downstream migration of fish. These are:

Current status
The FIThydro project has ended on 30 April 2021, All project objectives were successfully achieved by bringing together partners from different disciplines and enabled further developments in the field of sustainable hydropower and fish protection. The project has gathered a lot of knowledge and made it available to a wider community. In addition, new tools and innovative devices have been created and developed and are ready for use. A complete overview of the results is available at the FIThydro website and on the EC Cordis page ( ).

FIThydro impact in HYPOSO countries
 FIThydro focuses on mitigating the impacts of hydropower on fish populations and ecology, while HYPOSO aims to promote hydropower as a low-cost, CO2-free and sustainable power generation in emerging economies. While the cost price of hydropower is compelling and has often led to economic growth, its environmental impacts have often been neglected in the past and seen as cost drivers. FIThydro has sought to implement sustainability in a cost-effective way, or even to achieve win-win situations to improve production and reduce environmental impacts. Thus, it was possible to demonstrate: Considering sustainable environmental protection does not necessarily have to have economic disadvantages! With FIThydro, solutions are presented that are both cost-efficient and environmentally friendly, as well as bringing macroeconomic and longer-term economic benefits, and are thus also interesting for the HYPOSO countries. Tools such as the FIThydro-DSS or the FIThydro-Wiki make it possible to optimise hydropower at given locations in this respect and to find the best solutions even in the absence of experience in ecological hydropower generation. The FIThydro project can therefore also provide important impulses in the HYPOSO countries!


 The FIThydro project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020     research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727830.

We ask you to agree to the use of cookies and analysis tools to anonymously evaluate the use of our website so that we can make your visit to our website as comfortable as possible and further improve our services

For more info, please see our Privacy Policy.

Edit settings

You can disable the following optional tracking tools:

necessary (session) cookies for the operation of the website
Matomo web analytics service
Youtube Player Service