AHERC at Work: Tanana River Hydrokinetic Test Site Update

AHERC at Work:  Tanana River Hydrokinetic Test Site Update

Project Description:

AHERC’s Tanana River Hydrokinetic Test Site just outside of Nenana, Alaska, is playing host to a dramatic build out in the summer season of 2014.  The site is being upgraded with office facilities in the form of ATCO trailer units, power has been run to the location and a pontoon barge will be onsite to give hydrokinetic devices a platform on which to be tested in the river.  This effort is all taking place to support a busy testing season which will feature AHERC’s prototype debris diversion system and a hydrokinetic device owned by Oceana Energy Company being deployed into the Tanana River.

Project Update:  8/4/14-8/10/14

Monday August 4th, the two pontoons for the new barge were delivered to the test site from John’s Machine Shop in Fox, Alaska. The barge will be assembled in the Inland Barge Company’s lot and once assembled, deployed.

Tuesday August 5th, researchers Jack Schmid and Nick Konefal adjusted the ballast on the debris diverter so that the device floats nose up in the river. With a recent increase in the river velocity, water was coming over the bow of the diverter causing it to be partially submerged. Water was removed from the forward tanks and transferred to the rear tanks to make the diverter more stable.

Thursday August 7th, AHERC members started the process to assemble the barge. Before the barge decking could be installed each pontoon needed to be leveled and aligned in the correct spacing and plane for deck installation. The pontoons were leveled and were left settle over the weekend.

Friday August 8th, the decking for the barge was delivered to the test site for assembly.


Monday August 11th, a team of researchers and interns traveled to the test site to perform multiple tasks. One group continued working on leveling the pontoons while the other group leveled the new office trailer and storage connexes.

Tuesday August 12th, Machinist Tim Manning was at the test site to help with the assembly of the barge. Tim works for Jon’s Machine Shop and along with Jon Holmgren, built the barge. Final leveling and spacing on the pontoons was completed and the first piece of decking was installed.

Photo: The nearly completed barge sits on the bank of the Tanana River. Photo courtesy Nick Konefal, ACEP/UAF.