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Natel has released a photo tour of the Monroe Hydro Project during construction, SLH100-L installation, and operation.



Visit us at Booth 3084 at Hydrovision in Portland, OR July 14-16.

01 Product Development

SLH100-L successfully installed at Monroe Hydro Project

In early June, the completed SLH100-L unit was packed up and shipped to the Monroe Hydro Project in Oregon.  Once there, the SLH100-L housing was placed, cassette inserted, and all other subsystems installed and tested. 
SLH100-L sensors and control system tuning complete
The SLH100-L comes equipped with an extensive system of sensors which drive the machine’s control system and help monitor machine health.  Before regular operation could begin the machine was run slowly while carefully monitoring all sensors for erroneous signals. Successful operation of the system marks a milestone in control systems demonstration. Here Mechatronics Engineer Ian Tam inspects the sensor wiring.

SLH100-L speed-no-load tests complete

In late June, the SLH100-L began speed-no-load testing powered by water flowing through the plant. The tests were concluded by a speed-no-load test at the full 145 rpm running speed. In concert, the turbine control unit and hydraulic control unit can run the plant to various parameters including maintaining headwater level, which is an important parameter at the Monroe site. Here Mechatronics Engineer Jason Currie brings the machine up to full speed.

02 Project Focus

Monroe Hydro Project civil works complete
Natel completed the civil works for the Monroe Hydro Project on time and ahead of the beginning of irrigation flows in the North Unit Irrigation District canal. The civil works are designed for minimal change to the existing drop structure, only impacting them at the diversion upstream as shown in the photo below. The rest of the civil works consist of a trash rack, gate and forebay at the diversion, a penstock that parallels the canal, the powerhouse and a draft tube where flows re-enter the canal past the drop structure. 
Monroe Hydro Project SLH100-L unit installed
Monroe Hydro Project construction continued with the successful delivery and installation of the SLH100-L. On June 5, the SLH100-L was lowered into place between the penstock adapter and draft tube using the crane built into the powerhouse. Other installation tasks include mechanical and electrical hookups as well as wiring a number of sensors. 
Monroe Hydro Project electrical work complete
The completed electrical installation at the Monroe Hydro Project consists of the installed turbine control unit, hydraulic control unit, generator and grid connect along with relays and other equipment.
Monroe Hydro Project first water through plant
After the start of North Unit Irrigation District's irrigation season and SLH100-L installation, Natel was able to test flow controls through the whole system.  This included gate control as well as hydroEngine™ guidevane control.  

03 Business Development

New Team Member: Katie McKinstry

Katie is Natel’s Engineering Project Manager. She serves as the technical lead for development and new product introduction programs. She integrates engineering innovations into manufacturing processes and leads manufacturing growth. She works closely with sales and engineering to set production goals and develop operational systems. Katie earned her undergraduate degree in Engineering and History from Yale University and her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.  Prior to joining Natel, she was a Program Manager in New Product Introduction at Tesla Motors. 
New Team Member: Tristan Nillo
At Natel Tristan works as a Technician, building scale model testing equipment and maintaining the component fatigue testers.  He also works in machine assembly, and designs and fabricates custom shipping fixtures for SLH100-L components.   Before working at Natel, Tristan worked in the field of water desalination for over 20 years.  There, he worked at two startups, doing a variety of work from machining to field service.

New Intern: Ben Ward

At Natel Ben works as an intern on the Commercial team in project development and customer support.  Previously, he focused on the build out and launch of critically acclaimed Bay Area restaurants, emphasizing the use of renewables and sustainable practices.  He served three years in the US Navy, and graduated from Johnson & Wales University.  He also has a solar installation NABCEP certification.  
Returning Intern: James Svenstrup
At Natel James works as a business development intern, researching potential frontier markets, and improving and updating project financial models and tools.  James received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas, and recently finished the first year of an MBA at University of Chicago.  Prior to working at Natel James worked on upstream project development at ExxonMobil.

1 GW EcoSmartHydro in Bhutan

In June Natel’s CEO Gia Schneider made a trip to Bhutan, and signed an agreement to develop 1 GW EcoSmartHydro over next 5 years. While there, she visited a number of potential project sites, mapping 15 individual ones. Read more on Natel’s news page.

04 Media and Outreach

Natel at Hydrovison

Natel will be at Hydrovision in Portland, OR on July 17 booth 3084.  Gia Schneider will be speaking at session 6D: “How Can We Lower the Cost of Conduit and Small Hydro?” on Friday July 17 at 8:30 AM.  We look forward to seeing you there. 



Natel had booths at the ACWA Conference in Sacramento and the AWWA ACE15 Conference in Anaheim.  At AWWA Natel was featured in the IH2O Innovation Pavilion.

Natel interviewed by CNBC

Also at the AWWA Conference, Natel was interviewed by CNBC for an article discussing water utility hydropower.  Read the full article here

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