SJE Ecohydraulic Engineering – Mitigating the impact of hydropower in Shakimardan, Uzbekistan

The ecological sustainability of hydropower is one of the key aspects within Hydro4U. Lessons learned in Europe but also other parts of the world show that impacts of hydropower have caused a severe reduction of riverine fish in number and diversity. For instance, through hindering migration, changing the flow regime by lowering the base flows, generating fast artificial flow changes, or disturbing natural habitat structures.


At the demonstration site Shakimardan, Uzbekistan, the impacts of hydropower development on the river Koksu have been studied by SJE in cooperation with local experts such as the Central Asian partner TIIAME and European partners like BOKU and EVINBO. These results have been considered in the planning of the hydropower plant in collaboration with the project partners KJ Consult and TUM Munich.


A new cell phone-based mapping tool designed by SJE has been applied to collect habitat information along the affected, more than 3 km long section of the river Koksu and to integrate it into a GIS. Habitat information for the target species snow trout (Schizothorax eurystomus), has been jointly collected via E-Fishing by BOKU and TIIAME. This information has been used for simulations performed with the SJE-owned software CASiMiR ( for various river flows to find a seasonally adapted E-Flow that protects the local fish population.


The existing diversion weir and intake structure are modernised and equipped with a state-of-the-art fish way respectively a bypass installation that enable up- and downstream migration for snow trout. A migration barrier within the diverted river section is made passable by building a fishway adapted to the local lack of space. Currently, a telemetry study is performed by TIIAME and EVINBO using fish tagging with passive integrated transponders and the mapping tool, to find out about the migration movements of snow trout. The gained insights will feed into the adaptive management of the future Hydro Power Plant.




Author: Matthias Schneider, SJE Ecohydraulic Engineering GmbH

Photos and figures by Matthias Schneider and Tobias Hägele, SJE GmbH

Behind the scenes of European project cooperation: How does innovation management work?

The European Commission funds project consortia with the aim of promoting Europe’s innovative strength and bringing innovations more quickly to the European market and establishing them sustainably. As an expert in innovation management, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum works as a catalyst for the European Commission and project consortia.


Within the application stage, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum already acts as enabler and, if desired, also as project partner by accompanying the development of solutions and innovations on the way to a successful market launch. Together with the partners, our systematic approach enables the development of solid exploitation strategies, action plans and business models for commercially exploitable project results. In this context, intellectual property management plays an important role: through purpose-driven knowledge transfer and solution-oriented exchange, partners are enabled to adequately protect their project results for later exploitation.

The challenge lies mainly in the complexity of the different expectations and goals of the individual project partners, since the number of European and international partners in EU projects can range between 10 to 40.



Innovation management in Hydro4U

Small-scale hydropower is not extensively exploited in Central Asia despite considerable potential to satisfy unmet electricity demand and chart a new way forward in cooperative cross-sectoral management of shared waters.

Hydro4U will offer innovative, modular and standardised hydropower solutions for both low-head and medium-head application. In addition to direct market access for the participating project partners, Hydro4U will facilitate market access for European hydropower manufacturers and service providers in Central Asia as a whole.



Steinbeis Europa Zentrum accompanies innovation processes

Starting from the very beginning with the project conception phase, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supported the coordinating Technical University of Munich, together with the 11 other European and international partners and accompanied them through the application process.



Target Group perspective and expectations

In Hydro4U, partners from both Central Asia and the European Union are working together on project implementation to contribute to sustainable and environmentally friendly energy production for Central Asia through scientifically supported activities and the testing of technological solutions. Close cooperation between all stakeholders and investors involved is an essential aspect of Hydro4U. The different expertise of the partners (including industry, science, politics) leads to diverse perspectives on the interrelationships between ecology, technology and society, which have to be taken into account in innovation management, especially in exploitation strategies.



Innovation management and exploitation

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, as partner in Hydro4U responsible for exploitation, is meanwhile working systematically with the project partners to describe the innovative project results in terms of content, to define the exploitation intentions as well as to clarify ownership and access rights. The project partners, through their different expertise, co-develop very good approaches to solutions for the common challenges. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum for instance, organised interactive pitching sessions on individual project results. In a pitch, each of the participating partner organisation had presented its favoured project outcome and the associated challenges to the consortium. Through the resulting feedback from different perspectives as well as through the targeted exchange, further synergies between the partners could be established. Overall, these pitching sessions received very positive feedback and resonance from the partners.


This collaborative approach is consistently promoted and encouraged by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum. The most promising project results are selected in the course of the project and, in a next step, small working groups will then elaborate different aspects, for instance the Central Asian framework conditions for market entry and adequate business models. Furthermore, future steps and responsibilities for a successful and effective utilisation of the project results are also determined within these groups.


With the involvement of Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, a clear demarcation and description of the jointly developed project results is ensured, which further enables the clarification of the Intellectual Property situation including the access rights as well as responsibilities for further exploitation steps. In addition, the development of an exploitation strategy is secured as well as the results of joint partner contributions. This also extends to market analysis from different perspectives. Moreover, with Steinbeis involvement in the project, participatory approaches are further established in Central Asia as well as future steps and responsibilities for successful exploitation of the project results.




Author: Isabelle Dubreuilh, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum

Picture Credits: Bertalan Alapfy, Technische Universität München

Muhr Group relies on scalable approach for the new hydroshaft power plant

During the last 12 months, the Muhr Group worked on the scalable design approach for the new hydroshaft power plant. Now they finalised all the relevant steps and submitted the associated final report, the time was right for an interim summary.


The assessment is consistently positive: Very little time has passed between the first prototype design and an achievement of product readiness level. To have increased the marketability of the hydroshaft power plant to such an extent – and so early in the product’s life cycle – is a great success for Muhr. The level of marketability achieved is made possible through Muhr’s scalable design approach.




From Concept Study to CAD Model


The aim of the design work was to achieve a level of optimization that would allow to meet the ambitious goals of the Hydro4U project (funded under the Horizon 2020 research programme). Muhr started with concept studies, which were further developed into CAD models, based also on feasibility tests and FEM simulations. These 3D models are much more than three-dimensional technical drawings. They were designed in such a way that they can be used for cost calculation, procurement, and manufacturing of the planned power plants. The scalable approach allows power plants to be designed and implemented in less than a year.


All products were prepared for future use based on lessons learned from the operation of the first two commercial power plants. The first two power plants are also equipped by Muhr and successfully generate green energy for about 900 households.




The Muhr Group’s involvement in Hydro4U


The Muhr Group supplies the following products for the new plant type hydroshaft power plant:


  • Inlet and outlet stop log including frames, for damming up the power plant in case of maintenance work.
  • Control gate including downstream fish pass for regulating the dam height, allowing the turbine to produce power as efficiently as possible. The control gate also serves as a flushing opening for the passage of bedload in the river course, as a fish pass for fish and other aquatic creatures downstream of the power plant, and as an opening of the discharge cross-section in the event of a flood.
  • Shaft trash rack with cleaning bar for cleaning the turbine water (to protect the turbine) and the shaft trash rack, which ensures the efficiency of power generation.
  • Mounting frame with mounting points for shaft trash rack and control gate. These are pre-assembled at the factory, allowing for easy and quick installation on site. This results in a significant reduction in construction effort, construction time and construction costs.




Greater marketability through scalable approach


Hydro4U’s goal is to increase the marketability of the new type of power plant and to create an overall economic concept for shaft power plants. Muhr’s scalable approach meets this goal: The modular components are designed in such a way that they can be re-dimensioned for all future power plant designs. There is no need to design parts for individual projects, which results in considerable time and cost savings.

Supply chains and manufacturing plans are also created and improved to increase marketability. Muhr has solved the new requirements for the scope of supply due to the NEXUS approach of the EU:


  • The fish pass is flexibly adaptable to the respective species at the site, and the corresponding insert parts can be individualized.
  • The onward transport of bedload is optimized. As a result, the riverbeds retain their natural morphology.
  • The plant is prepared for climate change and can be equipped with a high and a low temperature option.
  • The moving parts are not driven hydraulically, but by electric motors, meaning that oil spills cannot occur.




Proof of concept: Power plant At-Bashi, Kyrgyzstan


The feedback from others has been excellent so far. In October 2022, representatives of Orion (Kyrgyzstan) visited the Muhr Group’s headquarters in Brannenburg, Germany. Orion was extremely satisfied with the state of development. There was also praise at the general meeting of the Hydro4U project consortium in Uzbekistan in June 2022: Muhr’s work was highlighted as well thought-out and versatile.

Looking back on what has been achieved since the beginning of the project, there is unanimous agreement that the chosen approach is the right one. This will be proven with the construction of the power plant at the At-Bashi site. All products are scheduled to be shipped there by end of November 2023, with construction to start on the beginning of 2024. The final commissioning of Uzbekistan’s first shaft power plant is scheduled for end of November 2024.




Author: Fabian Böttger, MUHR Group



1) The CAD models, which are designed using Muhr’s scalable approach, can also be used for cost calculation, procurement, and manufacturing.

2) The modular components can be re-dimensioned for all future power plant designs, eliminating the need to design parts for individual projects.



Photo credits: Muhr

Site surveys in At-Bashi to investigate the geotechnical subsurface conditions

Beginning with the first site visit in June 2022, ILF together with other project partners started the site-specific field works on the planned Hydro4U demonstration hydropower plant in At-Bashi (Kyrgyzstan). The main focus of the site visit was to obtain basic information for the subsequent detailed design works and, in particular, to specify the planned geotechnical subsurface investigations. As part of the planning and design works for hydropower projects, direct subsurface investigations are relevant to be carried out in accordance with international standards (e.g. Eurocode 7) for the geological-geotechnical characterisation of the site-specific ground conditions and to minimize project-specific subsurface risks.


Consequently, site surveys including aerial surveys using a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle, to create digital terrain models) have been carried out for the Hydro4U project.


Based on these, rotary core drillings have been planned before the end of 2022. The drilling works will be performed in thick alluvial soils (sandy gravels with intercalated silts). In order to obtain information on grain size distributions, packing density, hydraulic permeability, shear strength, groundwater characteristics, and other parameters, continuous core recovery and in-situ geotechnical borehole testing as well as sampling will be required for subsequent laboratory analyses. The drilling works are expected to be performed by the local investor Orion LLC.


ILF will take up these results to carry out the detailed design and perform structural calculations for the concrete structures of two Hydroshaft Power Solution modules and associated structures, verify the stability of the dams of the tailrace channel and design the related erosion protection measures. Finally, ILF will prepare the construction drawings and provide site supervision services during the construction of the demonstration hydropower plant.


The ILF Group is an international engineering and consulting firm that helps its clients successfully execute technically demanding industrial and infrastructure projects all over the world in the following main business areas: Energy & Climate Protection, Water & Environment, Transportation & Urban Spaces and Oil, Gas & Industrial.



Authors: Gabriel Pojer, Christoph Prager, ILF Austria



Partner Description:

Photo credits: ILF

Studying fish movements and habitat use in the rivers of the Shakhimardan enclave – fishing/tagging/tracking

During the last two weeks of October, INBO and TIIAME visited the Shakhimardan construction site to catch and tag fish. Tracking fish leads to detailed insights on how fish move and to which riverine habitats throughout the year. This basic knowledge is currently lacking on the target species, snow trout (Schizothorax eurystomus), but essential to develop a hydropower that has a minimum impact on the species.


The goal of the trip was to catch and tag 30 snow trouts with radio transmitters. Doing so, INBO trained the researchers from TIIAME in telemetry and tagging as knowledge transfer so they can conduct such studies themselves in the future. The snow trouts were caught by electro fishing equipment. After capture, fish of a taggable size were anaesthetized to put a radio transmitter in the abdominal cavity. The opening was surgically closed and upon recovery they were put back in the river near their capture location.


The trip was not a trivial endeavor. The river current was treacherously strong, making it hard to keep up right with the electro fishing equipment. Also, the fishing was hard at the start of the trip: we mainly focused on the Shakhimardan and Aksu rivers as we thought that the snow trouts would be in the deeper parts of the larger rivers to rest during the upcoming winter season. Despite catching a few, the majority of the fish came from the smaller Koksu tributary. Numbers leaning towards the hundreds were caught. We think that the slightly warmer temperature from the Koksu attracts the snow trouts for wintering and could therefore play a key role in their life cycle. However, this is an assumption that can be scientifically validated with the tracking research. We are therefore looking forward to the data that the researchers and students from TIIAME will collect in the coming year. Last but not least we want to thank the Shakhimardan community for their big hospitality!



For a detailed blog on the trip in Dutch, click here.




Author: Pieterjan Verhelst, INBO



Partner Description: Link to the respective partner description on the Hydro4U website (by SEZ)


Twitter: @INBOVlaanderen &  @VerhelstPJ
LinkedIn: Research Institute for Nature and Forest

Facebook: Research Institute for Nature and Forest
Instagram: Research Institute for Nature and Forest

Photo credits: INBO

Hydro4U contributes to KSTU Summer School 2022

The second edition of the Summer School on “HydroKG Kyrgyzstan – hydropower, ecology and hydromorphology” for international bachelor and master students was hosted by Hydro4U project partner Kyrgyz State Technical University named I. Razzakov (KSTU) in Kyrgystan during two weeks in August and September 2022.


Hydro4U aims to bring together stakeholders from industry, politics and science from both Central Asia and the European Union to contribute to a sustainable and climate-resilient future for the region by demonstrating European small hydropower equipment and technologies.


Moreover, one of the objectives of the Hydro4U project is to develop academic programmes and courses on sustainable hydropower for students.


In this regard, KSTU, as one of the partners of Hydro4U project, annually holds a two-week Summer School for students. This programme was already developed jointly by KSTU and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in 2019. The Summer School is mainly funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


From 20th August to 5th September 2022, students from Germany, Argentina and Kyrgyzstan visited hydroelectric power plants in the south and north of Kyrgyzstan and learned about the environmental consequences and sustainability associated with ecology and hydromorphology, as well as the hydro-electro-technical part of the stations.


The Summer School was led by Ms. Venera Baichekirova, head of the international department of KSTU. From the technical side, it was supported by Professor Nuridin Niyazov from KSTU (Karakoel site), by Hydro4U project partners as well as by IWMI-CA (Uzbekistan office).


The main programme of this year’s Summer School consisted of lectures and seminars at KSTU, combined with field trips to interesting places related to hydropower in the Kyrgyz Republic, small hydropower plants and natural river systems. Russian language courses were also organised teaching technical terminology. Moreover, cultural excursions to the mountainous regions and museums of Kyrgyzstan were offered.


Seminars were held by:


  • Muktarbek Kubat “Perspektive und Entwicklung erneuerbarer Energiequellen” (engl. Perspective and development of renewable energy sources), “Wasser Ressourcen und Management in Zentralasien” (engl. Water resources and management in Central Asia),
  • Saida Usmonova “Sustainable small-scale hydropower potential in Central Asia and role of Water-Energy-Food nexus” and
  • Abdikhamid Urazkeldiev “Hydro4U project: case study of Water-Energy-Food nexus assessments from demonstration sites”.


The students received explanations about the ecological and agricultural background of Central Asia and painted a picture of future challenges of the region. They also visited the Orto-Tokoi reservoir on Issyk Kul’e (led by Mr. Nurbek Sadygaliev), where they received a lot of information about irrigation in Central Asia.


This Summer School offered again an exciting programme for students, professors and experts, who had the opportunity to gain new knowledge and share information about Central Asia as well as to get to know a new culture and an amazing country like Kyrgyzstan.


The organisers would like to thank the partners of the Hydro4U project for their contribution to this year’s Summer School.


Author: Venera Baichekirova, KSTU


Partner description: KSTU


Facebook: KSTU

YouTube: KSTU

Photo credits: Venera Baichekirova, KSTU

Hydro4U project discovers fishes in Koksu River
(Shakimardan enclave, Uzbekistan) for the first time

Until now, no one thought there were fish in the Koksu River located in Shakimardan enclave, Uzbekistan. Also, until today, no literature information on fish catches in this river was registered. This is due to the lack of up-to-date information on aquatic ecology as well as fish biodiversity and migrations in Central Asia. Also, modern techniques for fish ecology studies were missing.


Within Hydro4U project, scientists from the TIIAME NRU team led by Prof. Bakhtiyor Karimov have conducted intensive aquatic ecology studies and for the first time in history, have revealed the presence of two fish species there: snow trout (Schizothorax eurystomus Kessler, 1872) and one loach species (Triplophysa sp.). During a fieldtrip for river ecology studies in the area of the potential small hydropower plant in November 2021, 24 specimen of snow trout of different ages were caught in the midstream of the river above Shakimardan Village, as well as more than 10 snow trout and loach specimen within Shakimardan Village in April 2022, thanks to the employment of electrofishing equipment introduced by Hydro4U project partners.


The caught fish species could serve as indicators for river ecology. Their habitat requirements serve as a basis for habitat studies and ultimately for achieving the goal of implementing environmentally friendly hydropower solutions.


The “Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers” National Research University (TIIAME NRU) is a regionally recognised academic and research institute known for its top programmes in engineering (irrigation, water resources, ecology and environment, electrification & automation, agricultural mechanisation, land management and agricultural economics / management & marketing).


In Hydro4U, TIIAME NRU’s core activities are to depict the impact of small-scale hydropower on aquatic and fish ecology in mountain ecosystems and to lead the preparation and dissemination of open-source educational materials.


Author: Prof. Dr. Bakhtiyor Karimov


Partner description: TIIAME


Instagram: tiiameofficial


Facebook: Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers

Twitter: @tiiameofficial



1) The snowtrout caught at “Chuqursoy” in Shakimardan village

2) Fish species – Triplophysa sp. from Koksu river, April 2022

3) Koksu river, Shakimardan Village

Boosting the replication of European Small-hydropower solutions in Central Asia

Central Asia is a singular region in terms of Small Hydropower (SHP) development. Although the zone has the second largest SHP potential (up to 10 MW) in the world with 34.4 GW, it is the area with the lowest percentage of SHP development, with only 0.8% of SHP exploited so far.[1]


Behind these low figures, there is a great number of political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental barriers. There are common issues as the lack of information on SHP or the lack of private sector funding. Moreover, some Central Asian countries have to deal with extreme weather conditions which negatively affect hydropower development, as for example in high altitude regions where streams are likely to freeze in winter.


Hydro4U aims to boost European SHP industry by adapting existing European high-quality solutions to the demands and resources of Central Asia. Furthermore, in order to accelerate the exploitation of these solutions, a replication strategy is being elaborated.


CARTIF is a technology Centre with more than 25 years of experience in the development of renewable energy projects and in the definition of strategies for energy transition. In the context of Hydro4U, CARTIF is leading the replication activities. A key point of our work will be the development of a replication guideline tool, aimed at future investors or public authorities to support decision-making on new SHP projects in Central Asia. The tool will be based on a computational model integrating GIS information and statistical data and will be implemented at river basin level.


Currently, it is planned that the tool will consist of several interactive modules, aiming to (1) visualise the total sustainable HP potential and installed capacity, (2) simulate hydropower (HP) generation scenarios considering Water-Food-Energy-Climate Nexus constrains, sustainability of resources and socio-economic impacts and (3) provide HP technology recommendations as well as lessons learnt related to the implementation of new HP projects.


The tool is intended for public use and is therefore not only aimed at experts who are familiar with the specific details, but also at decision-makers, investors and politicians.


[1] United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. 2019 World Small Hydropower Development Report (WSHPDR)]



Authors: Raquel López, Iván Ramos, Ismael Lozano and Fredy Vélez, CARTIF


Partner description: CARTIF
Twitter: @CARTIFCT
LinkedIn: CARTIF
Facebook: CARTIF

Curious to explore Hydro4U project? Discover our dissemination materials!

In Hydro4U, an international consortium of multiple experts is collaborating to promote small-scale hydropower in Central Asia. We, at Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, are making the hard work of our technical colleagues visible by presenting our project activities and achievements in an easy-to-understand way, for experts and non-experts alike!


Here is what we have developed for you to dive into our project!


Our Hydro4U project website informs you about the technologies developed to demonstrate small-scale hydropower in central Asia. Discover our technological solutions: the container solution and the shaft power plant. Moreover, you can find regular blogs depicting the work of our project partners and our latest news. In our event section, you will find inspiration where to meet our consortium or the hydropower community! Recently, main parts of our website have been translated into Russian to better reach stakeholders and the general public in Central Asia! Click here to browse through our website in Russian language.


Until today, we have published two newsletters giving an update on our project activities. While the first newsletter was focused on sustainable small-scale hydropower solutions developed in Hydro4U, the second newsletter was dedicated to our demonstration site “Shakimardan” in Uzbekistan where small-scale hydropower will be demonstrated using the Francis-Container-Power-Solution manufactured by Global Hydro. If you would like to receive future editions, subscribe here.


Finally, have a look at our brand-new project leaflet in EN or RU to get a quick overview about our project partners, aims and technical solutions!


To get the latest updates on Hydro4U, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube channel!


Author: Kathrin Eckerlin, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum


For general information and press inquiries, please send an email to:


Partner description: Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Twitter: @SEZ_Europa
LinkedIn: Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Facebook: @Steinbeis.Europa.Zentrum
YouTube: Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum

Hydro4U partner GLOBAL Hydro: smarT technology & modular Kaplan design

GLOBAL Hydro is the world’s first contact for digital small hydropower technologies and ensures a livable environment for the future through innovative solutions. The independent company with many years of experience in hydropower specialises in Kaplan, Pelton and Francis turbines in the range of 100kW to 30MW. In Hydro4U, Global Hydro will develop turbine technology that meets the requirements in Central Asia in terms of costs, installation, maintenance and operation while ensuring the highest European quality standards.


GLOBAL Hydro is very active in Asia. The company was Platinum Sponsor of the most important hydropower fair in Nepal: the World Expo Himalayan Hydro Expo 2022 in Kathmandu that took place from 2nd to 4th of April 2022. Besides, a few months ago, GLOBAL Hydro founded GLOBAL Hydro India, a new subsidiary with more than 60 employees, to further support and expand their existing project network in Central Asia.


GLOBAL Hydro’s role in Hydro4U is to adapt their hydropower solutions for the Hydro4U demo sites. Their goal in the project is to further develop two different technologies in a forward-looking manner:


  • on the one hand, an innovative Kaplan turbine for irrigation canals and existing weir structures in a modular design and
  • on the other hand, the Francis Container: smarT container solution for medium heads.
SmarT Container (credits: GLOBAL Hydro)

For this purpose, two demonstration sites will be selected and realised: one with the innovative Kaplan turbine, and one with the Francis smarT solution. Thus, GLOBAL Hydro will be able to show these two core technologies.


Their activities in Central Asia will highlight the potential of small hydropower worldwide as:



  • the Hydro4U demonstration sites shall inspire to exploit unused hydropower potential worldwide, regardless of their size
  • GLOBAL Hydro will show that such kind of products with European quality standards are feasible in Central Asia as well as worldwide.


Author: Alexandra Vogt, GLOBAL Hydro


Partner Description: GHE
LinkedIn: Global Hydro Energy
Instagram: globalhydroenergy
Facebook: Global Hydro Energy