Kevin Mulligan: Graduating Fellow of the Hydro Research Foundation

Kevin Mulligan

Editor's Note: This is the ninth in a series of profiles provided by the Hydro Research Foundation that highlight potential future members of the hydroelectric power industry and their accomplishments.

The Hydro Research Foundation is actively supporting graduate students to conduct research related to conventional and pumped storage hydropower.  These students are funded through the Department of Energy’s Water Power Program and industry partners through a five year US$3.7 million dollar grant.

Kevin Mulligan graduated last month from University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Kevin’s research focused on Cost-Effective Improvements to Surface Bypass Systems for Alosines.  A floating impermeable guidance structure (FIGS) for downstream fish passage is constructed as a series of partial-depth panels anchored across a river channel, reservoir, or power channel. If guidance is successful, the fish will avoid entrance to a dangerous intake structure (i.e. turbine intakes) while passing from the upstream to downstream end of a dam through a safer passage route (i.e. the bypass).

To evaluate the flow field immediately upstream of a FIGS, a parameterized CFD model of an idealized power channel was constructed in ANSYS Fluent v. 14.5. The design parameters investigated were the angle and depth of the FIGS and the average approach velocity in the power channel. Key findings indicate that a FIGS set at a small angle and deep enough such that the Effective Guidance Depth of the FIGS is greater than the expected vertical distribution of fish approaching the structure will perform the best.  Kevin is actively seeking a hydro related career now. 

To connect with Kevin or learn more about the Fellowship Program please email or visit the website

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