JEDC brings hybrid tech for study at UAF

Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Juneau Economic Development Council has helped bring a new college study aid into Alaska.

Photo Provided By The Acep At Uaf
Photo Provided By The Acep At Uaf

The Alaska Center for Energy and Power at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has just received a Mack hybrid electric dump truck from the U.S. Air Force, a deal that JEDC facilitated through its SpringBoard program.

"Our role is to develop the relationship between the military factions and the public or private sectors," Larry West, communications specialist for JEDC, said. "This is for the purpose of putting cutting-edge technology into use in the civilian world."

SpringBoard is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense to help share new and existing technologies with the private sector. It is in its fourth year of operation.

West said a big part of JEDC's role is searching Alaska for facilities that can test technologies used or endorsed by the military.

"We have a team that's always looking for these sorts of things," West said.

ACEP director Gwen Holdman said when the Air Force learned of ACEP's work in alternate vehicle technologies, it decided UAF would be a perfect place to house this particular hybrid technology.

"One of our things in our research is electric vehicles," she said.

ACEP's agreement with JECD brought them more than a utility vehicle, but a great learning tool, Holdman said. It will not only be studied by students, but also driven by staff.

"We'll be using it more for educational purposes like studying battery systems and diesel engines," she said.

The hybrid truck combines electric power with the Mack MP7 engine, which runs on diesel fuel. According to a document from Mack, the technology's benefits include having better fuel economy, reduced emissions and engine maintenance and lower operating costs. Holdman said these are the benefits ACEP works on through its research, which is part of what helped draw the Air Force to select this site.

Holdman said the truck arrived a few weeks ago and is a welcome sight at the campus after more than a year of planning for its arrival.

"The big challenge is that the battery charger is still on its way from Michigan," she said. She expects the charger to arrive within the next few days.

"We're really hoping this is just the first step of more projects to come," she said.

Holdman said there's a memorandum of understanding in place, what she refers to as "an informal formal" arrangement, for JEDC to be on the lookout for more projects to bring to ACEP.

• Contact Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.



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