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UAF Receives $3.3 Million to Test Hydrokinetic Turbine Performance

Dec 2, 2020 | Education, Energy, News

The project team is a mix of academic researchers and commercial partners who will study a system that includes field-tested components.

Photo 154002445 © Sarit RichersonDreamstime.com

The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) has been awarded $3.3 million in federal funding to develop river turbine generators to lower the cost of energy.

ACEP, an applied energy research program based at UAF, received the funding to develop new economically competitive hydrokinetic turbine designs for tidal and riverine currents. The project will advance turbine technology from BladeRunner Energy and generator technology from C-Motive Technologies, creating a system that could be well-suited for providing power to remote Alaska communities.

The award comes from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, known as ARPA-E.

“ARPA-E awards are super competitive, so the fact that we were awarded one reflects well on ACEP, the UAF College of Engineering and Mines, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and our commercial partners,” says Jeremy Kasper, ACEP deputy directory for research.

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BladeRunner Energy’s technology offers a design that is easy to deploy and avoids debris, two key attributes for generating hydrokinetic energy in Alaska. The system will be tested in Nenana and in ACEP’s Power Systems Integration Lab in Fairbanks during the three-year project.

The project team is a mix of academic researchers and commercial partners. They’ll study a system that includes field-tested components. That means the technology is much closer to being usable in real-world settings, Kasper says.

“For UAF, I see a real opportunity for growth in these type of projects that combine applied academic research with emerging tech companies,” he says.

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