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Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center (AHERC)

Hydrokinetic Research - Why is it important?

Alaska has approximately 40% of the total river energy, approximately 90% of the total tidal energy and approximately 60% of the total wave energy in the U.S.  Because of the high cost of power in Alaska, many communities are considering whether accessing these “hydrokinetic” energy resources to generate electric power is economically feasible and environmentally sustainable.

AHERC Debris Photo 2

Photo: Debris accumulation in front of a 25 kW New Energy turbine barge at Eagle, Alaska, photo courtesty of Alaska Power & Telephone.

 

AHERC's Role

The Alaska Hydrokinetic Research Center (AHERC) focuses on applied research and engineering to help communities, developers and other stakeholders address the questions of whether emerging hydrokinetic energy technologies are economically, technologically and environmentally sustainable.

To this end, AHERC conducts environmental and technical studies evaluating available hydrokinetic energy resources, turbulent flows and their effects on device power output and longevity, fisheries and marine mammal studies, habitat studies, approaches to anchoring hydrokinetic infrastructure and debris mitigation, and other issues pertinent to developing an Alaska hydrokinetic power industry.

AHERC is housed within the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). AHERC and ACEP are based in the Institute of Northern Engineering (INE), the research and development arm of the College of Engineering and Mines (CEM) at UAF.

Mission and Vision

The Mission of the Alaska Hydrokinetic Research Center is to conduct applied research to inform communities, industry, regulators and other stakeholders on the economic and environmental sustainability of emerging hydrokinetic technologies. In addition, we seek to provide practical and innovative solutions for hydrokinetic power generation to help meet Alaska’s energy challenges.

Our Vision is to develop a self‐sustaining AHERC with capabilities to conduct applied research needed to facilitate the development and implementation of hydrokinetic power generation worldwide. As part of this, we have compiled a strategic plan, available here for download AHERC's strategic plan.