SMH Research

A structured approach to small hydropower R&D

The Standard Modular Hydropower (SMH) project is an innovative research and development (R&D) effort exploring new ways to site, design, develop, and operate small hydropower projects. The SMH philosophy is rooted in a belief that new hydropower facilities and technologies must sustain the important functions of a stream while generating energy at competitive prices. We have organized four research pillars to explore this concept:

  • Site Classification to identify and evaluate similarities in stream characteristics across the country
  • Exemplary Design to develop technical, economic, and environmental specifications for new modular technologies
  • Simulation and Modeling to develop tools that improve the performance of new technologies and characterize their interactions with the environment
  • Testing and Validation to ensure new modular technologies deliver advanced functionality

With funding from the Department of Energy (DOE), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is championing the SMH concept and seeks engagement with industry stakeholders to apply SMH concepts in practice.

Click on the boxes below or visit the Publications page to learn more about SMH research.


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy