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Alaska program awards $8.9 million to boost energy tech

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Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 12:06 am | Updated: 12:09 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Energy Authority has awarded grants to 16 “emerging technology projects” with a goal of spurring innovative new technologies to reduce the cost of energy in the state.

The $8.9 million in grants were awarded by AEA through a matching grant with the Denali Commission. The projects awarded include 10 projects from the Interior.

AEA Executive Director Sara Fisher-Goad said the goal of the program is to keep the state “at the forefront of finding innovative solutions and new energy technologies.”

Priority for the grants is given to Alaska businesses, utilities, nonprofit organizations, tribal and local governments. The goal is to test emerging technologies for conserving energy or to use an existing technology that hasn’t been demonstrated in Alaska.

The Interior projects include:

• A program to plant poplar stem cuttings for forest regeneration by the Alaska Division of Forestry. Although less energy-dense than other biomass fuel stocks, poplars have much faster growth rates.

• Arctic Sun of Fairbanks plans to test efficiency improvements of using arctic doors, arctic shutters and blown-in insulation shutters on homes.

• The Cold Climate Housing Research Center plans to install a ground-source heat pump at its testing facility to monitor its performance in a colder climate.

• The University of Alaska Fairbanks will work to boost the efficiency of an Organic Rankine Cycle system, which is used to condense vapor into liquid and remove heat from fluids.

• The Institute of Northern Engineering plans to demonstrate a new design of ventilated exhaust thimbles for stoves, furnaces and generators. Stove thimbles prevent wood framing from igniting from hot exhaust as it passes through a chimney.

• Altaeros Energies of Delta Junction plans to demonstrate a 30 kilowatt

wind turbine suspended 1,000 feet above ground by a helium-filled shell. The project seeks to take advantage of higher and more consistent wind speeds that is available to a ground-mounted turbine.

• Ocean Energy Company hopes to tap energy from moving water on the Tanana River in Nenana with a barge-mounted hydrokinetic device.

• Hatch is proposing to demonstrate a high-efficiency flywheel to provide more stability in wind-diesel systems. Flywheels are rotating mechanical devices used to store energy.

• Boschmas Research plans to use a river-bottom mounted turbine to tap the energy of moving water on the Tanana River in Nenana. The device includes a debris guard and technologies enabling use in slower currents.

• March Creek proposes increasing fuel efficiency for diesel electrical generation. The project will work to allow engines to operate at lower rotational speeds when power demand is low, increasing fuel efficiency.

Contact the newsroom at 459-7572.

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