WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Frank Murkowski wants the federal government to create a $1 million center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to study new energy technology.
Murkowski, R-Alaska, tucked in language to create the ''Office of Arctic Energy'' in the Senate version of the yearly Defense Department authorization bill. It was added late Tuesday night as the bill was being debated on the Senate floor.
Under the proposal, the center would ''promote research development and deployment of electric power technology that is cost-effective and especially well-suited to meet the needs of rural and remote regions of the United States, especially where permafrost is present or located nearby.''
The office would focus on enhanced oil recovery using ''reinjection of carbon'' and conversion of natural gas to liquids. Also, it would look into small hydroelectric power stations, including river turbines and tidal generators. Other energy sources tagged for study include gas hydrates, coal bed methane, shallow natural gas, geothermal heat, wind and fuel cells.
The federal Department of Energy would have to locate the office at ''a university with special expertise and unique experience'' both in cold regions and in the kinds of energy research outlined in the amendment.
Given that description, the center would likely land at UAF, Murkowski said.
UAF spokeswoman Debra Damron said that the institution has indeed specialized in such research in recent years. She noted that an Energy Department grant last year helped establish the UAF Energy Center, which is studying the use of fuel cells. The UAF lab working on the fuel cell received a visit from Assistant Secretary of Energy Dan Reicher when it opened in August.
UAF officials involved in discussions about the new center are in Washington, D.C., this week, Damron said.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.