EETF: Rivgen Power System Commercialization

Project Overview

Ocean Renewable Power Company(ORPC) will be creating an in-river hydrokinetic device that utilizes the moving energy from rivers. The energy is collected through hydrofoils that drive a generator that send power back to shore. The RivGen sits on a support frame featuring chambers that can fill with water or evacuate to raise and lower the device in or out of the water. Testing will occur near Eastport, Maine where device refurbishment and improvement will occur. After shipping the device to Alaska further testing will ensue in Nikiski. After the device has been fitted with a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition(SCADA), and power electronics, it will be sent to the Kvichak river near Igiugig. While in Igiugig the RivGen system will collect data covering the water speed, power produced, and other measurements from the device itself. After two years the system will be permanently removed and moved to Nenana for future turbid river testing.

Project Objectives

ORPC will work towards creating a device that can be easily deployed and recovered. Maintenance needs to be kept to a minimum to keep operating costs down for the device. After refurbishing and improving the RivGen device, it will be moved to Nikiski for further in depth testing including the power electronics and SCADA system. If testing proves successful, the device will then be moved to Igiugig for testing in an environment that is identical to the final deployment environment.


ORPC designed their RivGen device to mimic their original Turbine Generator Unit(TGU). The TGU was designed and tested in Maine and in addition to being the basis of the design for the RivGen, it also serves as the basis for the design of the larger TidGen also produced by ORPC. The designs utilize a cross axial flow turbine which can operate regardless which direction the water is flowing over the hydrofoils. The support frame that supports the RivGen is made of hollow metal pipes which can be filled with water or air to either submerge or surface the device.

Administration of Funds

The Alaska Energy Authority has been placed in charge of administration for the Emerging Energy Technology Fund projects. More information can be found on their website here

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