The Pacific Marine Energy Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (PMEC-UAF) provides practical and innovative solutions for hydrokinetic power generation to help meet Alaska's energy challenges. Our research informs communities, industry, regulators and other stakeholders on the economic and environmental sustainability of emerging hydrokinetic technologies.
Since 2010, ACEP has investigated Alaska’s hydrokinetic resources and developed innovative technologies through the Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center (AHERC). Over the course of 4 years, AHERC’s research reputation grew nationally and internationally. In 2014, the research group was invited to join the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) in recognition of their valuable contributions to the field of hydrokinetic research and the strategic alignment with the other west-coast members of PMEC.
To meet the unique energy needs of Alaska communities, PMEC-UAF retains a research focus on Alaska’s riverine, tidal and wave resources and their hydrokinetic potential.
Marine Energy Research Areas
Determine specific river, tidal and wave characteristics that may impact the installation and operation of hydrokinetic devices, including current dynamics, debris, ice, wave conditions, and sediment transport.
Understand fisheries and marine mammal populations and their interaction with turbines. This is a key issue for permitting as well as ensuring alignment with community and stakeholder values, and sustaining valuable subsistence and commercial fisheries and wildlife populations.
Identify favorable hydrokinetic locations, taking into account economics, available power, environmental factors and community support.
Design, develop and test innovative hydrokinetic technologies, debris diverters, devices for fisheries and other infrastructure critical for Alaska’s communities and economy.
Marine Energy Project Highlights
This project was carried out to advance the Technology Readiness Level of the Water Horse hydrokinetic power harvester from 5 to 7.
This project aims to determine the benefits and issues associated with integration of wave and other renewable energy sources into small grid systems.
Tanana River Hydrokinetic Test Site
AHERC’s Tanana River Hydrokinetic Test Site is used to test hydrokinetic power generating devices, related technologies, and to characterize the river environment under realistic Alaska river conditions. Researchers and industrial clients can use the test site to assess interaction between hydrokinetic devices and the environment, including fish interactions, debris management, turbine placement, hydrodynamic analysis, sediment transport and icing.