Recent Submissions

  • To freeze or not to freeze: that is the question: a look at freezeback landfills and final cover designs

    Durand, Sarah; Perkins, Robert; Aggarwal, Srijan; Barnes, David (2019-12)
    Freezeback landfills are an exciting concept but challenging in execution. There is not a single variable that leads to the success of a freezeback landfills but multiple variables in balance with each other that allow for freezeback to occur. Freezeback landfills should be engineered to the site-specific environment at the initial design stage for a better chance of success rather than following the generalized regulatory requirements. This project looked at three freezeback landfills as case studies and evaluated the final cover design of the first two in identifying parameters that lead to success in reaching and maintaining freezeback status. The parameters and research on permafrost are then applied to the third case study in a series of recommendations for consideration when designing a final cover strategy.
  • Implementation of various bed load transport equations at monitoring sites along the Sagavanirktok River

    Laurio, Jenah C.; Toniolo, Horacio; Barnes, Dave; Stuefer, Svetlana (2019-05)
    In May 2015, the Sagavanirktok River in Alaska flooded, spilling over the Dalton Highway and destroying several sections of the road near the community of Deadhorse. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities made repairs to the road and funded the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Water and Environmental Research Center (WERC), to conduct a multiyear study of hydro-sedimentological conditions on the Sagavanirktok River. Personnel from the WERC installed four monitoring stations for research purposes. The first monitoring station (DSS1) is located near Deadhorse at Milepost (MP) 405 of the Dalton Highway, the second (DSS2) is located below the Ivishak River (MP 368), the third (DSS3) is located in Happy Valley (MP 335), and the fourth (DSS4) is located at MP 318. Near each monitoring station, large pits were excavated to trap bed sediment as it moves downstream. Researchers involved in the Sagavanirktok River study have been collecting bathymetry measurements from the sediment pits since fall of 2015. The following document discusses a research project that focused on bed load transport along the Sagavanirktok River at monitoring sites DSS1, DSS2, and DSS3. Monitoring site DSS4 was not included in this study due to difficulties retrieving sediment data caused by high water levels. Sediment transport volumes measured from the test pits were compared with volume estimations calculated using Acronym (a computer program), and applying the bed load equations of Meyer-Peter and Muller, Wong and Parker, Ashida and Michue, Fernandez Luque and Van Beek, Engelund and Fredsoe, the Parker fit to Einstein’s relation, Lajeunesse et al., and Wilson, with a critical Shields value ( t #) of 0.06 and 0.03. The study results showed that in all cases the bed load transport volumes measured at sites DSS2 and DSS3 were far smaller than those calculated using the bed load transport equations. For monitoring site DSS1, a few of the bed load transport equations estimated volumes were close to those measured. The Acronym program was used only for sites DSS2 and DSS3 due to difficulties creating the grain size distribution curve at DSS1. Data show that the volumes calculated by Acronym are greater than those measured at both sites. The bed load transport equations used for the project were not applicable to the Sagavanirktok River.
  • A review of oil spill history and management on the North Slope of Alaska

    Davila, Amanda (2013-12)
    Alaska has an abundance of natural resources including oil, natural gas and coal. It is critical to minimize the occurrence of oil spills to ensure protection of Alaska's people and the environment. The objective of this project is twofold. One is to provide a quantification of the number of spills on the North Slope (NS) as well as the number of contaminated sites that are generated, describe the regulatory requirements for the Arctic zone, and discuss cleanup methods. Second is to describe the ADEC regulations as they pertain to terrestrial oil spills. The region of study begins north of Alyeska's Pump Station 4 at the Dalton Highway milepost 270, TAPS 144, north to the Beaufort Sea, encompassing all oil related operations. This review excludes spills at villages (not related to oil field operations), and releases to the atmosphere (e.g., halon, propane). Additionally, spills at formally used defense sites (FUDS) and long range radar sites are also excluded from this study. Spills that result in long term monitoring and cleanup are managed as contaminated sites. The data reveals that the majority of contaminated sites have been cleaned up with no institutional controls in place. The number of spills on the North Slope is consistent with activity. The time during the peak oil is when there are a higher number of spills. Over time, as the oil production and activity decline, so do the number of spills with a few exceptions. The decline in oil production has limited activity and growth on the NS.
  • Analysis of steel-reinforced concrete-filled steel tube columns (CFT) under axial compression and moment

    Li, Fei (2015)
    This study presents an investigation into the behavior of steel-reinforced concrete filled steel tubular columns (CFT) using the finite element software ABAQUS. The steel tube provides lateral confinement to the concrete core which results in an increased concrete compressive strength and deformation capacity. The concrete infill, in return, prevents the inward local buckling within steel tubes. The axial load bearing capacity of CFT is thus higher than the summation of axial load-bearing capacities of the concrete core and the hollow steel tube. The axial force P and moment M interaction diagram is generated.
  • Research in advanced nuclear development and planning

    Kuca, Michael; Perkins, Robert A.; Schnabel, William E.; Barnes, David L. (2014-12)
    This project began as an examination of small and mini nuclear power plants as an emergent energy technology capable of sustained base-load power generation in northern climates. Literature review immediately demonstrated Alaska should remain current on small and mini nuclear power plants because commercial vendors are promoting their products to state leaders as certain solutions. Is Alaska prepared to receive, operate, and decommission advanced nuclear technology as an alternative to traditional hydrocarbon power plants? The graduate committee encouraged me to facilitate discussions with Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) leadership in reference to their 2010 study on small modular reactors. Gwen Holdman, Brent Sheets, and George Roe offered great encouragement for this project and allowed me to participated in nuclear related meetings with affiliates. In fall 2013, ACEP was hosting Idaho National Laboratory guests to discuss areas of common research interest. I was invited to prepare a short presentation of this project to Dr. Steven Aumeier, Director of Center for Advanced Energy Studies and Michael Hagood, Director of Program Development. ACEP and INL later determined a mobile mini reactor design for remote terrestrial deployment represents common research interests, and INL funded three UAF student fellowships at the Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) Dr. Stephen Howe, Director of CSNR, allocated a team of six graduate fellows to explore terrestrial applications of a tungsten fuel matrix currently under design for nuclear thermal propulsion. UAF students selected for CSNR fellowship included Haley McIntyre, Alana Vilagi, and me. The team designed a Passively Operating Lead Arctic Reactor (POLAR), presented the POLAR design to INL staff and industry leaders and a subsequent poster was provided for the INE conference for Alaska Energy Leaders in October 2014. In addition to exceptional engineering experience, I was able to advance the graduate project in areas of technology, policy, economics, and energy infrastructure requirements needed to accept advanced nuclear technology. Concurrently, under a memorandum of agreement between the University of Alaska and Alaska Command ALCOM, I was able to advance the project to consider military applications of small modular reactors with ALCOM Energy Steering Group. It was in this context where I evaluated military installation energy usage in interior Alaska as compared to production of integral pressurized water reactors likely to emerge first in the commercial sector, and the ability of Alaska military to adopt this technology. As a side project, select courses of action were prepared and briefed to the commanding general of ALCOM should the nuclear option become attractive to the military. What began as an independent examination of small and mini nuclear power plants to satisfy a three-credit project requirement became an incredible collaboration among civilian, state, university, military, and industrial shareholders of the Alaska energy sector. Specific recognition for this report belongs to Haley McIntyre for her contribution to policy frameworks and as editor for this report, and Alana Vilagi for her contribution to process heat applications. The graduate committee along with ACEP leadership, INL-CSNR, and ALCOM should all be recognized as facilitators in this review of nuclear power in Alaska. The following report is presented in six chapters. The first two chapters attempt to introduce the reader to the current state of commercial nuclear energy in the nation as a pretext to developing the advanced reactor designs. Modifications to the existing framework are provided and the total cost of nuclear in Alaska is considered as opportunities and barriers to deployment are evaluated. As a conclusion, scenarios are developed to explain how this technology may contribute to our energy sector in the future. This project was unfunded, and its findings are intended to present a neutral examination of emergent nuclear design in the Alaska energy sector.
  • Wind energy: is there an economy of scale in Alaska?

    Ellanna, Dayne; Lewellyn, Levi; Hulsey, J. Leroy; Perkins, Robert; Whitaker, Keith (2015)
    The purpose of this project is to show the cost relationship per kilowatt hour (kWh) between small scale (< 25kWh), medium scale (> 25 kWh and < 100 kWh), and large scale (> 100kWh) wind turbines. Our analysis will compare the cost per kWh and identify the economy of scale between our custom small scale models to commercial models. The commercial models used for this project were installed by Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) at their Healy, Alaska wind farm. We requested their wind data, capital investment breakdown, and their operations and maintenance costs. This data will be compared to the costs and wind data associated with our custom built wind turbine. Wind energy is dependent on one major variable, the wind. Regardless of the wind turbine size, wind speed, frequency, and duration will affect the efficiency of every wind turbine. Commercial wind farms are new to Alaska. The first major wind power project in Alaska was in 1997 in Kotzebue. This wind farm, of 17 wind turbines, represents the first megawatt of wind power in Alaska. Installation and maintenance of these systems is more expensive in Alaska due to the states' remoteness. Small scale systems used in this study are custom built because small scale commercial systems are not "hardy" enough to withstand Alaska's harsh weather systems. Both medium and large scale systems, for this study, are commercially constructed systems that have been designed to withstand these harsh conditions.
  • Using the USDA wind erosion equation for comparative modeling of natural and anthropogenic sources of particulates measured at the Fort Greely PM₁₀ monitoring station, Alaska, a case study

    Becker, Steven R.; Perkins, Robert; Barnon, David; Whitaker, Keith; Aggarwal, Srijan (2015-05)
    In April of 2010, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) opened a compliance case against the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Greely, Alaska (FGA), for then repeated failure to comply with a permit condition requiring the collection of one year of Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD)-quality data on ambient levels of particulate matter less than 10 microns in effective aerodynamic diameter (PM₁₀). During the monitoring period of 2012-2013, background levels of PM₁₀ were more than 80% the Alaska Ambient Air Quality Standards (AAAQS) for a total of seven days in the winter of 2012-2013. On March 17, 2014, ADEC requested that FGA provide substantive documentation that PM₁₀ exceedances observed during the monitoring period were of natural provenance and not from anthropogenic sources. In response to this request, the author used Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to analyze basic meteorological data and outputs from the USDA Wind Erosion Equation (WEQ) to generate a simple back-trajectory model for determining the sources and relative contributions to PM₁₀ experienced at a given receptor. Using this model, the author was able to show that the vast majority of PM₁₀ at Fort Greely was natural rather than anthropogenic in nature. The ADEC Division of Air Quality determined that results of this study constituted substantive documentation that PM₁₀ exceedances observed during the monitoring period were of natural provenance and not from anthropogenic sources, and issued a compliance case closure letter on June 20, 2014. In addition to the direct results of the study, the project also serves to demonstrate a low-complexity model that can be used to assess the relative contribution of anthropogenic and natural sources of PM₁₀ at a given receptor. Additionally, it can be used in complex situations as a screening tool to focus data collection efforts on significant sources of PM₁₀ and facilitate the prioritization of PM₁₀ sources for more precise quantitative dispersion or receptor models when precise quantitative data are required.
  • Tire chain damage on bridge deck wearing surfaces

    Muench, Wilhelm; Hulsey, J. Leroy; Barnes, David L.; Perkins, Robert A. (2017-12)
    A light weight, durable, and damage-resistant material is needed as a wearing surface replacement for a two-lane bridge deck that is on a 6% grade. The wearing surface to be replaced is 9.2-m wide and is attached to an orthotropic closed cell steel deck that supported by two 155.9-cm wide by 414.0-cm deep steel box girders. This is a 699.5-m long six span bridge over the Yukon River located near the Arctic Circle on the gravel road section of the Dalton Highway. The bridge is located approximately 80 km north of Fairbanks, Alaska. The structure was designed in the early 1970's with a 127-mm two-layer timber deck wearing surface. Since then, the timber deck wearing surface has been replaced in 1981, 1992, 1999, and 2007. Future decking material may be composites. Factors to be considered in the selection of a new decking material include: thermal cracking, abrasion, durability, flexural strain, traction, weight, and fastening methods to the steel deck. Moreover, the material must retain its structural properties in temperatures that range from -50C to 40C. For a majority of the year, the driving surface is covered with ice and snow. Because of the steep grade, trucks typically use tire chains during the winter. These tire chains damage the current timber wearing surface and are a major factor in its deterioration. Further, the more traffic the less traction. Owing to the damage tire chains cause on the current timber wearing surface, other wearing surface materials are being considered. The purpose of this project was to evaluate possible wearing surface in the laboratory for punching shear, structural strain, modulus, traction, and resistance to tire chains. In this paper, preliminary test results for traction, and wear by tire chains are presented. This is an updated version of a paper that was first presented at ISCORD 2007, Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Cold Region Development, Tampere, Finland, September 25-27, 2007, with co-author, J. Leroy Hulsey.
  • Alternative project delivery in rural Alaska: experiences, quality and claims

    Monta, Katrina L.; Pehrson, Gerald S.; Cryer, Matthew N. (2015-12)
    The popularity of alternative project delivery systems has expanded beyond the private sector and into the public sector. Alaska embodies unique challenges that may present obstacles while using alternative project delivery systems. This analysis will provide an understanding of alternative project delivery systems in Alaska and how local experiences, quality and claims are affected. Alaska's unique characteristics present both challenges and opportunities for implementing alternative project delivery systems. This report begins with a discussion of experiences from several rural Alaska projects, and how alternative project delivery systems can be utilized. Some impacts that alternative project delivery systems have on quality are then presented, including a perspective on quality and recommendations for achieving customer satisfaction. A treatment of construction claims is then provided, followed by conclusions and recommendations for stakeholders in selecting an appropriate project delivery system. Alternative project delivery systems were researched by means of scholarly literature reviews, professional interviews and seminars. The report of these findings is intended to provide owners and contractors with a concise presentation of the challenges and advantages for using alternative project delivery systems in Alaska.
  • Major impediments to a feasibility study in the case of Smith Bay development

    Hullavarad, Nilima V.; Perkins, Robert A.; Hulsey, J. Leroy; Connor, Billy G. (2017-05)
    The State of Alaska is one of the energy-producing states which rely on revenue from energy extraction, but faces several challenges, especially significant fluctuations in revenue generated by taxes. In the past, oil production from established oil fields on state land yielded sufficient tax revenue. For new sources of oil, oil company owners must make a decision about developing the prospects based on a feasibility study which produces preliminary design, cost estimates, project schedule, including many permits and other uncertainties, financing, and tax credits. When this study is done, the decision can be made to begin development. This paper considers the feasibility studies on main obstacles in the development path of Smith Bay. The evaluation of major tasks needed for a feasibility study, uncertainty and obstacles, combined with our estimation of the time period required for the oil fields to produce oil, led to an estimate of the time before tax money will be provided to the state.
  • TEST Master's Projects 9/25/17

    CHISUM (2017-09)
    TEST Master's Projects 9/25/17