Tapping the Power of Alaska’s Rivers

Project Overview
Positive Impact: Renewable energy for rural areas.
Whitestone Power is working to create electricity from free-flowing rivers in Alaska's harsh climate.
Locations: Alaska
Partners: Whitestone Power
EERE Investment: $142,000
Clean Energy Sector: Renewable electricity generationPDF

Partnering with Alaska’s Whitestone Power, EERE is supporting efforts to develop a practical River In-Stream Energy Conversion (RISEC)—a device that can produce electricity from free-flowing rivers not suited to conventional hydroelectric generation, and that can do so in Alaska’s weather conditions. Rural areas of Alaska frequently experience high electricity prices due to the high costs of delivering fuel to those areas. Under those conditions, technologies like RISEC, when implemented at a commercial scale, may provide a source of cost-effective electricity. Whitestone’s project includes site analyses and surveys for RISEC facilities in Alaska, theoretical modeling of structural RISEC components, turbine blade and mounting prototype testing, and application strategies. The company’s research yielded several innovations that will drive future device designs, including developing site-specific engineering solutions for effectively applying RISEC technology in Alaskan river environments; integrating stock components that reduce design, construction, and component replacement costs; and constructing a modular design and flexible control system that have broad potential applications for meeting the power needs of remote Alaskan villages. Whitestone and other project participants contributed $37,000 to this project.

The Water Power Program is committed to developing and deploying a portfolio of innovative technologies for clean, domestic power generation from resources such as hydropower, waves, and tides.

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