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ORPC seeking grant for river power project in Alaska

IGIUGIG, Alaska 6/11/12 (PennWell) -- Ocean Renewable Power Company hopes to land a $1.5 million grant to help it test and develop a river power turbine to be used near a remote village in Alaska, according to Forbes Magazine.

ORPC wants to install its RivGen generator near the Alaskan village of Igiugig. Currently, the 50 residents who live there rely on diesel generators for power, Forbes reports.

ORPC’s chief executive officer, Chris Sauer, says this would be the company’s first chance to test RivGen. After initial testing in southern Alaska’s Cook Inlet, ORPC plans to disassemble the unit, then install it in the waters of the Kvichak River. The site was chosen because of the river’s brisk current (a steady flow of 5 to 6 knots), relatively ice-free winter conditions and lack of debris. ORPC also saw Igiugig as a good site because the village is similar to other river towns throughout the state.

Later, ORPC would move the unit to the Tanana River, which has the more punishing characteristics of a typical Alaskan River, ORPC says.

The turbine’s capacity is estimated to be about 60 kW, ORPC says.

To pay for the project, ORPC applied for grant funding in a program that is jointly funded by state and federal agencies.

“This system will have applications in rivers around the world,” Sauer says.

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