The American-Made Challenges® Fish Protection Prize announced its Grand Prize winners. Taking first place was a team led by Alden's Benjamin Mater with a concept he titled, "Making a Deal with the Devil Fish: Biometric-Informed Screening Technology."
This multi-stage competition, led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, sought innovations to advance fish exclusion technology to protect fish from threats produced by water infrastructure like water diversions and pipes or intakes at hydropower dams.
Team Devil Fish pitched a concept to improve the design of intake screens, calling upon millions of years of evolution to produce a simple but elegant redesign inspired by filter-feeding fishes. The concept will be developed with computer modeling. Flume testing will be conducted for a final hydraulic prototype.
This is not the first time Ben has stood in the winner's circle. He submitted a top placing solution for a Fish Exclusion Prize, run by the Bureau of Reclamation. This prize was announced in December 2019.
The top three Fish Protection Prize concepts will share combined cash prizes and voucher support from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in order to further develop their winning ideas. Grand prizes are broken down as follows:
First Place: $200,000 cash and $100,000 in voucher support
Second Place: $125,000 cash and $100,000 in voucher support
Third Place: $75,000 cash and $100,000 in voucher support
Another Alden team was named as one of nine Fish Protection Prize finalists. Jenna Rackovan's team submitted a concept called FERS, a Fish Entrainment Reduction Structure that was designed to guide or exclude bottom-oriented fish from intakes.