Five-year collaborative agreement signed in U.S. to advance hydro, marine research

The University of Alaska Fairbanks and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the U.S. have signed a five-year collaborative agreement intended to advance research on hydropower generation, marine renewable energy and underwater technology development.

PNNL and UAF’s Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) will form research teams, pursue joint funding requests and establish joint graduate student research and faculty appointment programs.

Initial collaborations will focus on:

  • Energy system reliability
  • Aquatic environmental monitoring
  • Innovative underwater technologies
  • Maritime security

Future projects may involve using unmanned aerial systems for oil spill and ecosystem restoration monitoring, improving energy efficiency in maritime infrastructure, helping reduce impacts to fish and mammals near marine energy turbines, and using geoinformatics to detect illegal fishing.

“This agreement … provides a substantive basis for much greater transregional engagement of our respective capabilities, toolsets and customer bases,” said George Roe, deputy director of ACEP. “It is truly forward-looking in terms of the technologies, insights and workforce that will be needed in the global blue economy.”

Steven Ashby, PNNL director, said, “PNNL is proud to partner with the University of Alaska Fairbanks to address energy resiliency and national security challenges unique to our region, and to build upon existing collaborations in marine, environmental and energy research.”

PNNL operates the U.S. Department of Energy’s only marine research facility, the Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Wash., and helps manage an Arctic observatory on the North Slope of Alaska.

ACEP’s Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center conducts applied research on river and ocean energy generation and integration, leveraging the resources available at its Tanana River Test Site near Nenana, Alaska, and the Power Systems Integration Laboratory on the UAF campus.

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