Dr Stephanie Müller

PhD Thesis: Impact of leaky barriers and hydrokinetic turbines on channel hydrodynamics and fish movement

PhD Supervisors: Dr Catherine Wilson and Dr Pablo Ouro (University of Manchester)

Stephanie is a Research Engineer at Vattenfall R&D in Älvkarleby, Sweden, a small town near the Baltic Sea approximately two hours north of Stockholm.  She works in the Ecohydraulics team, conducting larger-scale experiments analysing upstream/downstream measures to protect fish from entering hydropower plants and conducting numerical studies analysing different river restoration/regulation measures to improve fish habitat.

Between 2017-21 Stephanie was a PhD researcher in the WISE Centre for Doctoral Training and was based in the Hydro-Environmental Research Centre at Cardiff University.  Stephanie’s project investigated how fish respond to flow alterations caused by anthropogenic structures such as vertical axis river turbines and leaky barriers used for natural flood management. Her research interests include sustainable energy technologies with particular focus on small-scale hydropower, nature-based solutions and ecohydraulics, including fish-flow interaction, hydrodynamic changes, fish swimming behaviour and migration.  Stephanie’s PhD thesis was “Impact of leaky barriers and hydrokinetic turbines on the riverine ecosystem”.


Stephanie graduated in 2017 with an MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems from the Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany. Her dissertation was titled: ‘Numerical investigation of the flow in vortex power plant in consideration of river continuity’. Prior to this, she graduated with a BSc in Environmental and Power Process Engineering in 2015 where her final year dissertation was titled: ‘Simulation of the fluid-structure-interaction of a flexible, oscillating aerodynamic profile with the open source toolbox OpenFOAM extend’. Stephanie plans to study at Cardiff University in order to carry out her research project.  Alongside her Master’s degree, Stephanie worked as a Scientific Assistant within the Laboratory of Fluid Dynamics and Technical Flows where she investigated the numerical stimulation of the multiphase flow in a fish-friendly weir within the research action “Wachstumskern Flussstrom Plus“. She also worked as a Student Assistant during her Bachelor’s degree; investigating the fluid-structure-interaction of the benchmark case HronTurek of the open source toolbox OpenFOAM extend.

Selected Conferences

Müller, S., Muhawenimana, V., Ouro, P., Wilson, C. and Cable, J.: Tracking fish swimming behaviour in the vicinity of a hydrokinetic turbine, International workshop for PhD and post-doctoral fellows on Salmonid research (NoWPas), online, 2021

Müller, S., Follett, E., Furnues, D., Muhawenimana, V., Wilson, C., Ouro, P. and Cable, J.: Field and laboratory studies of leaky barrier design implications on the aquatic environment, oral presentation, GW4 WSA Annual Conference, University of Plymouth (UK), online, 2020

Müller, S., Ouro, P., Wilson, C. and Cable, J. Impact of anthropogenic structures on fish swimming kinematics and passage, International workshop for PhD and post-doctoral fellows on Salmonid research (NoWPas), Laugarvatn (Iceland), 2020

Müller, S., Follett, E., Wilson, C., Ouro, P. and Cable, J. Impact of hydrodynamics of porous and non-porous structures on upstream fish passage performance, 72nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, Seattle, Washington (USA), 2019

Müller, S., Cleynen, O., Thévenin, D: Numerical investigation of the influence of a guide wall in a Fish-friendly Weir. Presented at: International Conference on Engineering and Ecohydrology for Fish Passage, Corvallis (USA), 2017

Müller, S.: Numerical Investigation of a Fish-friendly Weir with OpenFOAM. Presented at: OpenFOAM User Conference, Cologne (Germany), 2016


Müller, S., Muhawenimana, V., Wilson, C. A. M. E., and Ouro, P. (2021) Experimental investigation of the wake characteristics behind twin vertical axis turbines, Energy conversion and Management, 247, 114768, doi: 10.1016/j.enconman.2021.114768

Müller, S., Wilson, C., Ouro, P. and Cable, J. (2021), Leaky barriers: leaky enough for fish to pass?, R. Soc. Open sci., 8:201843, doi: 10.1098/rsos.201843

Müller, S., Cleynen, O., Hoerner, S., Lichtenberg, N. and Thévenin, D. (2019), Numerical analysis of the compromise between power output and fish-friendliness in a vortex power plant, J. Ecohydraul., p. 1-13, doi: 10.1080/24705357.2018.1521709