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Alaska SeaLife Center Replaces Fossil Fuel With Renewable Seawater System

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It is known that using renewable energy saves money and helps the environment that is why the Alaska SeaLife Center made a way to convert using fossil fuel to renewable seawater to heat and cool the center.

The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward announced April 22 that 98 percent of heating and cooling within the center is no longer using fossil fuel; instead, it converted into an alternative low-cost energy derived from seawater.

The seawater heating system was designed by Andy Baker from the Anchorage consulting firm YourCleanEnergy. The materials used to build the complex pipe loops of the heating system are produced by Mayekawa, a Japanese firm.

"The trick is to getting all those loops to transfer heat at the correct rate," said special projects coordinator Darryl Schaefermeyer of Alaska SeaLife Center.

The renewable seawater system in SeaLife Center gets energy from the waters of Resurrection Bay.

The 900-feet Resurrection Bay gathers heat from the sun over the summer months and retains the warm temperature over the winter.

The water from the Resurrection Bay is then pumped from the 300-feet part of the ocean and transferred to the heat exchangers made of non- corrosive titanium plates. This is where the water loops, along with the 10 percent glycol serving as antifreeze.

The warm water with the glycol passes on another loop with liquefied carbon dioxide, making the CO2 boils and turns into vapor.

The vapor will then be compressed accelerating its pressure to 2,000 psi making the temperature increase from 100 to 194 degrees.

After the long travel of water in the complex loop system, it will then circulate to another loop supplying the center with varying temperature in its offices and labs.

The $1 million worth heating system has been functioning since Jan. 21 and had come in line in December of 2012. It is the first renewable heating system that uses seawater as the source of heat energy.

This move of using an alternative energy is a way of fulfilling the SeaLife Center's mission on spreading the knowledge of Alaska's marine resources and a way to save money and help cut greenhouse gases which is estimated to reduce emissions by 1.24 million pounds ($1.79 million).

"Simple payback is estimated to be 13 years at the estimated annual savings on electricity of $48,000," said Baker.

Schaefermeyer added that since the installation of the heating system, the center had saved almost $4,000 per month on electric costs.

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