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BP gives $1M to UAA for Asset Integrity and Corrosion Lab

New lab will create a stream of well-trained corrosion engineers with knowledge on Alaska’s energy and environmental issues

ANCHORAGE, AK – BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. announced today a $1M gift to the UAA School of Engineering to establish the BP Asset Integrity and Corrosion Lab, scheduled to open in fall 2012.

This lab will be the first of its kind in Alaska. It will enable the UAA mechanical engineering program to expand its corrosion engineering curriculum and offer critical hands-on experience and marketable skills to Alaska’s next generation of engineering professionals.

“Not only will this generous gift from BP expand UAA’s areas of academic excellence in the School of Engineering, it will create a stream of well-trained corrosion engineers who are knowledgeable about Alaska’s energy and environmental issues,” says UAA Chancellor Tom Case.

The creation of the lab and expansion of the corrosion engineering program will create new advance training opportunities for engineering students at UAA. As the North Slope infrastructure enters its fourth decade, the need for homegrown engineers with corrosion experience has never been higher. Though the state’s primary industries are oil and gas, this new lab will benefit other industries as well, including aviation, military, shipping, fisheries and water/wastewater utilities. The lab’s fuel cell and deep-cycle battery testing and research will also expand the renewable energy capabilities for rural Alaska villages.

“This is an important investment, one that will train qualified Alaskan engineers to fill positions in our industry and others while also creating a sustainable training, testing and research facility for the university,” said BP Exploration (Alaska) President John Mingé. “In the past decade BP has donated $28 million, both cash and in-kind, to the University of Alaska. BPremains committed to workforce development and Alaska hire.” 

UAA mechanical engineering assistant professor Matt Cullin explains that the new lab will, among other capabilities, allow for CO2 corrosion experiments. “This is especially important since CO2 corrosion is a very serious concern on Alaska’s North Slope,” says Cullin. “We’ll be able to measure corrosion rates and test inhibitor effectiveness right here in Alaska, which has had to be done largely Outside, until now.” Cullin says that the quick turnaround of these experiments will result in more efficient management of Alaska’s energy infrastructure.

The BP Asset and Integrity Lab’s additional capabilities include chemical analysis of liquid and metal samples, ground/wastewater samples and liquid fuels derived from biomass, and the ability to perform fundamental electrochemical experiments.

The lab will create opportunities for faculty and graduate research, in addition to independently commissioned research that will provide a sustainable stream of income to the lab. Also unique to the lab is that it will be one of the few corrosion labs nationwide to enable undergraduates to conduct research.

For more information about the BP Asset and Integrity Lab, contact Matt Cullin at (907) 786-1038 or afcm2@uaa.alaska.edu. For more information on the UAA School of Engineering, visit www.uaa.alaska.edu/schoolofengineering.

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