Alaska National Labs Day highlights opportunities for collaboration on clean energy technologies

Published on June 04, 2018 by Aaron Martin

Lisa Murkowski

During the inaugural Alaska National Lab Day held last week at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) campus, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and UAF announced a five-year research collaboration on hydropower, marine renewable energy, and underwater technology.

The forum was attended by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, more than 200 Alaskans, and leaders of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

“We’re excited to host all of you for two excellent days of discussions where we can all learn more about the national labs, Alaska, and how we can form lasting beneficial partnerships,” Murkowski said. “Alaska is truly a living laboratory. We have real challenges, but also unique opportunities that build upon our strengths to help us find the next level of ingenuity, innovation, and great solutions.”

DoE announced a grant for cost-shared research between UAF and Hilcorp that will total nearly $7 million. The research effort will seek to develop the first polymer flood to improve the recovery of unconventional oil and gas along Alaska’s North Slope.

“Our opportunities are perhaps most visible in our abundant natural resources,” Murkowski said. “When I say Alaska is a storehouse of everything, I mean it — not just oil, gas and coal, but also resources like methane hydrates. We also have every type of renewable resource, from hydropower to wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, which is allowing our remote villages to add renewables to their microgrids to reduce costs and emissions.”

During a roundtable on climate change and energy innovation at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, Murkowski and other participants discussed the potential impact of climate change in the Arctic.

“This roundtable was a great opportunity to bring together Alaskan and national experts for a discussion about the complex challenges that we face,” Murkowski said. “In Alaska, we are seeing the impacts of climate change firsthand and also working aggressively to develop technologies that will help reduce our emissions. This discussion will be one of many that we engage in, not only as Alaskans but as partners focused on a very significant global issue.”