On Thursday, Nov. 9, Council leaders of the Gila River Indian Community, led by Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on a solar-covered canal pilot project on the Tribe’s Level Top Canal.
The historic agreement was approved by the GRIC Council on November 1.
The agreement starts the first phase of the solar-over-canal project and will involve construction of solar panels over a portion of the Community’s 1-10 Level Top canal to conserve water and generate renewable energy for tribal irrigation facilities.
This historic agreement represents the first solar-over-canal project of its kind in the United States to initiate construction. The cost of Phase I of the solar-covered canal project is estimated to be $6.744 million, and it is expected to produce approximately 1 MW of renewable energy to offset energy needs and costs for tribal farmers.
With the execution of this historic agreement, the Army Corps will now begin the actual construction phase of the project, with completion expected in 2025.
In his remarks during the event, Governor Lewis offered his appreciation to Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works for his partnership in this project.
“I want to personally thank Assistant Secretary Connor for his vision and steadfast support for this innovative project. Our work with the Assistant Secretary dates back decades and the Community deeply appreciates him and his support.”
ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke attended the signing ceremony.
“This is the type of creative thinking that can help move all of us toward a more sustainable future,” said Director Buschatzke.
“Leveraging existing infrastructure such as the Level Top Canal to help provide sustainable, dependable energy – and to do so as part of cooperative partnership like this one – constitutes a win all around.”
Following remarks from Governor Lewis and Assistant Secretary Connor, the parties signed the agreement to begin construction of the project, which is designed to generate clean, renewable energy as well as help reduce evaporation.
A “Project Partnership Agreement,” or PPA, is a legally binding agreement between the federal government and a non-Federal sponsor such as state or municipal governments, or, as in this instance, a Native American Tribe. The projects historically involve construction of a water resources project.
The PPA describes the project and the responsibilities of the federal government and the non-federal sponsor in the cost sharing and execution of work.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District (SWG) awarded the fourth and final multimillion dollar contract for the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project (CCSCIP) September 25, 2023.
Callan Marine will receive approximately $102.9 million to complete dredging on the final stretch of the project—the Inner Harbor reach. With the final contract the entire project will beneficially use roughly five million cubic yards of dredged material.
“Through extensive resource agency coordination, cooperation with our non-federal sponsor—the Port of Corpus Christi—a close relationship with the Texas General Land Office and a tremendous partnership with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries program, about five million cubic yards of dredged material will be turned into almost 1,000 acres of something useful while leaving capacity in upland placement areas for routine maintenance dredging disposal,” said Lisa Finn, SWG’s environmental program manager for operations.
The overall channel improvement project would combat erosion within the channel by providing 395 acres of sacrificial erosion protection along with the construction of a 2,000-foot breakwater—to tie into a currently planned 4,000-foot breakwater—in the Nueces Delta. The Nueces Delta is currently eroding at a staggering rate of about 8.2 feet per year, Finn said.
The project also aims to nourish degraded habitats by converting 206 acres of open water in an estuarine marsh. An additional 120 acres of intertidal living shoreline will be created to provide shoreline protection and prevent road overtopping, Finn said.
The CCSCIP will also create another 200 acres of an industrial use site for local economic and commercial entities.
“With this project, the Galveston District makes great strides toward the Chief of Engineers’ vision to increase beneficial use of dredged material,” said Col. Rhett Blackmon, SWG’s district commander.
“This is one of the largest beneficial use projects the district has ever constructed,” said Chris Frabotta, SWG’s operations chief. “That much dredged material would fill up the Astrodome more than three times.”
The project will improve approximately 11.9 miles of the associated shipping channel, effectively widening the channel from 400 feet to 530 feet and deepening it from 47 feet to 54 feet.
SWG contributes to the wellbeing and economic success of local communities through its beneficial use of dredged material. Annually, the Galveston District dredges approximately 30 to 40 million cubic yards of material. USACE employs environmentally and economically responsible ways to utilize dredged materials for beneficial applications and improve eroded coastlines through beach nourishment and beneficial use programs. For more information on SWG’s beneficial use of dredged materials, visit: https://usace-galveston-district-beneficial-use-ceswg.hub.arcgis.com/.
Perimeter Solutions (NYSE: PRM), a leading global manufacturer of high-quality firefighting foams, announced today that its SOLBERG® 3% MIL-SPEC Synthetic Fluorine-Free Foam (SFFF) is the first fluorine-free firefighting foam concentrate to be added to the Department of Defense Qualified Products List (QPL). Now that a fluorine-free foam has been added to the QPL, federal regulations mandate that airport authorities and other government agencies that are required to use MIL-SPEC-qualified products to transition from aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) to fluorine-free. SOLBERG 3% is the only fluorine-free foam that is currently on the QPL and available to the market.
Since 1969, the industry has followed the MIL-F-24385 specification, which required the use of AFFF. Moving toward more sustainable technology, MIL-PRF-32725 (I1) , a new specification for land-based, fresh-water applications for fluorine-free foams was released in January 2023. Manufactured in Green Bay, Wisconsin, SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF concentrate is specifically designed for fast knockdown and extinguishment of gasoline and Jet A fuel spill fires as identified in MIL-PRF-32725 (I1), easily exceeding expansion ratio, burn back, and 25% drain-time performance requirements. It is biodegradable and non-persistent, contains no siloxanes or intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and is compatible with multiple equipment systems.
“We are an industry leader in fluorine-free foam technology, having developed fluorine-free foam solutions since the early 2000s. SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF is our fourth-generation fluorine-free product, and we are proud that it is the first to be added to the QPL,” says Craig McDonnell, Vice President, General Manager of Perimeter Solutions’ Americas Suppressants and Prevention & Protection. “SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFF is available now, and Perimeter Solutions is ready to assist the market in making the transition to fluorine-free foam today. The introduction of SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF demonstrates our dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions that not only meet the highest industry performance standards, but also minimize their impact on the environment.”
McDonnell adds that Perimeter Solutions’ internal testing confirms the performance of SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF in salt water, an advantage for customers, as many water sources contain high levels of minerals or salts that affect foam performance. He says Perimeter is also a proven partner of the military, having supplied the Air Force with foam for their Aircraft Rescue Firefighting foam transition from 2015-2016, delivering 418,000 gallons to 183 locations around the world.
“While some foam manufacturers have decided not to participate in the new MIL-SPEC qualification program and have either stopped or are planning to stop producing foam for the military and commercial markets that rely on MIL-SPEC foam, Perimeter Solutions remains committed to serving this market with high-quality fluorine-free foam solutions,” adds Mark Siem, Business Development-Industrial, Chemist at Perimeter Solutions.
For more information about Perimeter Solutions and SOLBERG 3% MIL-SPEC SFFF, visit https://www.perimeter-solutions.com/en/class-b-foam/3-mil-spec-sfff/.
About Perimeter Solutions
Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Perimeter Solutions (NYSE: PRM) is a premier global solutions provider, producing high-quality firefighting products and lubricant additives. The company develops products that impact critically important issues of life – issues where there often is no room for error and the job doesn’t offer second chances. At Perimeter, we characterize the solutions we develop as ‘Trusted Solutions that Save’ – because it underscores what we are trying to accomplish for our customers and the world at large. Perimeter Solutions produces major brands known throughout the world like PHOS-CHEK® and FIRE-TROL® retardant, foam concentrates and gel products; AUXQUIMIA® and SOLBERG® firefighting foam concentrates; and BIOGEMA® extinguishing agents and retardants. For more info on how we use our experience, responsibility, and integrity to deliver trusted solutions that help improve firefighting performance, visit: www.perimeter-solutions.com.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces a base contract award to Brasfield & Gorrie, L.L.C., of $16.8M for the Dissolved Oxygen facility. This is a sustainability project funded by the Section 212 Program to install an upstream diffuser system at Wolf Creek Dam on the Cumberland River in Jamestown, Kentucky.
The district is partnering with power preference customers, the Southeastern Power Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority to construct a cryogenic facility downstream of the dam and install 50,000 linear feet of oxygen diffuser lines that reach into Lake Cumberland.
When constructed, the cryogenic facility will be capable of converting 300 tons of liquid oxygen per day to gaseous oxygen through four 15,000-gallon tanks and eight vaporizers. Daily deliveries of liquid oxygen will be required during the low dissolved-oxygen season for operation. Onsite construction of the facility is anticipated to begin in 2024 after fabrication of the liquid oxygen tanks has started.
Installation of polyethylene piping has begun. TVA has mobilized to the site to begin assembling the diffuser lines. Construction is underway downstream of the dam and then the lines will be trenched under Highway 127 and through Halcomb’s Landing in late fall after the peak recreation season. Lines will then be installed in the forebay. The system is similar to those TVA operates at Norris Dam and Watts Bar Dam and is scheduled to be operational in the fall of 2025. Highway 127 and Halcomb’s Landing will remain open or partially open throughout the construction period.
“The award of this contract will improve generation at Wolf Creek Power Plant by mitigating the need to sluice water during the late summer/ fall low dissolved oxygen season,” said Chris Stoltz, project manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District. “Without this system, power production can be limited to 30% of its design capability throughout the season. The Project Delivery Team is excited to begin this phase of the project and continue supporting the region with reliable and renewable electricity.”
Installation of an upstream diffuser system, in conjunction with auto-venting turbine runners, reduce or eliminate unit restrictions during the low dissolved oxygen season. When these capabilities are achieved, the Nashville District can provide more environmentally friendly releases while maximizing hydropower generation.
The Nashville District continues use of funds granted under the Section 212 Water Resources Development Act of 2000 for hydropower plant rehabilitation to bring generators up to date through the Hydropower Modernization Program.
Project managers managing Nashville District 212 projects include Sam Jaser, Chris Stoltz, Omar Acevedo, Austin P'Pool, Mason Carter, and Mike Lee. Dana Sexton is the 212 Program Manager. All Hydropower managers can work on 212 projects within the Nashville District.
Section 212 authorized the Corps to accept and expend a portion of hydroelectricity revenues to perform rehabilitation work on hydropower equipment throughout the Nashville District in Tennessee and Kentucky. The rehabilitation of nine hydropower plants, 28 units and aging equipment ensure the production of more hydropower into the future to energize local cities and towns.
Sexton said these rehabilitation projects bring the hydropower plants up to date and they also ensure the Nashville District can reliably produce power that can quickly come online during periods of peak usage and critical energy shortages, like the Christmas Eve blackouts that swept across Nashville last winter.
“Hydropower is very helpful during power shortage situations, because we can quickly come online and produce the power needed during emergencies and fill that gap, so people aren’t as greatly impacted,” said Sexton.
Most hydropower units in the Nashville District began operating between 1950 and 1977, making these units outdated and challenging to find replacement parts for repairs.
“Most hydropower equipment has met the service life at Nashville District plants in the Cumberland River system. The objective for the Section 212 Program is to replace old equipment with more modern equipment so these plants can continue to produce power and increase the amount of power they produce,” said Sexton.
The hydropower plants in the Nashville District have been operating for over 50 years, exceeding their typical design life of 35-40 years. As a result, the risk of component failure increases every day.
Memorandum of Agreements between the Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, Department of Energy Southeastern Power Administration, and power preference customers provides Section 212 rehabilitation funding for these rehabilitation projects.
“Wolf Creek and Old Hickory have substantial turbine generator rehabilitation work upcoming. Taking care of these upgrades now will ensure a more cost-effective hydropower impact on the region in for the future,” said Sexton.
The projects are complete turbine generator rehabilitations, consisting of replacing and upgrading the main generating equipment. The direct current exciter replacement projects help power the plant while engineers get a generator online. These projects are done in preparation for the larger turbine generator rehabilitation projects.
“Wolf Creek turbine generator rehabilitation is currently in the design phase and is expected to be rewarded to a hydropower construction contractor in 2024,” said Jaser.
The design process for Wolf Creek turbine generator rehabilitation is currently ongoing at 90% complete, meeting the September deadline for this step of the process.
Jaser, who also leads the Generator Step-up Unit transformer replacement project, said the Nashville District will meet with contractors who are considered industry expects to review the design plans.
“By reviewing the specs beforehand, the solicitation process happens a lot easier. We want to ensure there’s nothing that needs to be modified before the acquisition and solicitation portion of the process is completed,” said Jaser.
With a technical background in electrical engineering, Jaser is a huge asset to the hydropower team. His experience with the electrical equipment used at hydropower projects helps with planning the work and understanding the challenges, so teams can prioritize the necessary work.
Sexton said Jaser’s unique engineering knowledge helps him manage the projects he’s working on and serve as another layer of review on the project.
“Jaser’s background strengthens the Nashville District on several levels, one being the ability to review certain steps ahead of time and make any necessary changes before we move to the next phase,” said Sexton.
The Wolf Creek Hydropower Plant Rehabilitation Project design phase started in 2022. Jaser works closely with the quality control team and technical teams during this phase.
“As a project manager with an electrical engineering background, I’m glad to put these skills to work. I help create functional and critical ways to improve the processes we use to get these projects done quickly and efficiently,” said Jaser.
The project is expected to take approximately 10 years and will enter the acquisition phase in 2024, then contractors will bid for the contract and eventually begin construction.
The Old Hickory turbine generator rehabilitation project will replace three out of four turbine generator units. The Corps rehabilitated the fourth generator under a separate Section 212 funded contract.
Stoltz, project manager for Old Hickory Dam Turbine Generator Rehabilitation Project, said the new generators will be rated at 40,500 MW and contractors will replace three turbines with new Kaplan turbines, rewind existing generators, and refurbish associated equipment and components for three units.
Before starting the turbine generator rehabilitation work, the Corps completed a Hydropower Rehabilitation Analysis Report in 2022, where engineers studied different alternatives to complete the necessary repairs.
“This report helps the design team leading the engineering and design phase to know which alternative will yield the most benefit once completed,” said Stoltz.
The Corps awarded the construction contract in January 2023 and the project is currently in the engineering during construction and supervisory and administration phase. Repairs are scheduled to begin in March 2025 after the contractor submits and gets approval for their construction plans.
“The contractor will be off-site for two years planning, designing, and manufacturing before mobilizing and removing the first unit in 2025. This off-site time is critical and lays the foundation for the successful replacement of the first unit. It gives the team an opportunity to look over the contractor’s plan and ensure it meets the requirements of the plans and specifications,” said Stoltz.
Sexton said Stoltz has done a great job leading the Old Hickory rehabilitation project, he's been actively involved with the contract from the beginning.
“Stoltz and his team had a technical site visit with the contractor and our technical staff early in the contract ensuring everyone was on the same page to meet deadlines successfully. He’s committed to being as cost effective as possible through this entire process,” said Sexton.
The Corps awarded the Old Hickory Dam Turbine Generator Rehabilitation Project to Andritz Hydro, a global supplier of plants, equipment, and services for hydropower stations, in February 2023 and is expected to complete the work by August 2029.
The Nashville District power plants produce over 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours per year on average. Based on an average annual household consumption of 10,715 kWh, as provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, that is enough energy to support 304,000 homes annually.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)
A monumental feat of engineering and progress stands tall in the heart of the Cumberland River basin. Dale Hollow Dam and Lake, authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the River and Harbor Act of 1946, emerged to control the floodwaters of the Obey River and contribute to the reduction of flood levels at municipal, industrial, and agricultural areas along the Cumberland, lower Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers.
Contractors completed the flood control project in 1943 but suspended the construction of the powerhouse. In July 1946, construction of the powerhouse resumed, and Dale Hollow Dam became the first of nine U.S. Corps of Engineers power plant erected within the Cumberland River basin.
Stanley Carter, power plant superintendent, described the planning of Dale Hollow Dam and the subsequent dams as a "holistic" approach to taming the Cumberland River system. "The Corps created each of the dam sites to work in harmony with each other," he explained, pointing out the distinct roles played by non-river run plants like Dale Hollow, Wolf Creek, Laurel River, Center Hill, and J. Percy Priest, which primarily served as storage facilities for flood control. In contrast, the river run plants along the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers focused on navigation as their primary mission, with minimal water storage capacity.
From 1948 to 1953, contractors added three Francis power-generating turbine units to the power plant. Each unit can produce 16-18 megawatts of power. Together, the turbines generate up to 54 megawatts of power, enough to supply the needs of a town with approximately 45,000 people.
For the town of Celina, with a population of 1,400, that's enough power to keep the entire town powered in the event of a complete or partial energy loss.
The powerplant does more than generate power. Since hydropower is an immediate source of energy, hydropower turbines work as backup generators. Dale Hollow's turbines stabilize the 69-kilovolt electrical grid system it connects to, providing a reliable and steady electricity source during increased demand or emergencies. By increasing the voltage on the turbine units, the voltage on the entire electrical grid system receives a boost.
"We're like the Red Roof Inn. We keep the lights on," said Steven Crawford, journeyman electrician.
To keep the lights on, Carter relies on a strong, highly competent, and professional team to maintain the aging equipment. The team includes Office Attendant Amanda Matheny, Senior Electrician Paul Drinkard, Journeyman Electricians Waylon Hackett, Steve Crawford, Stanley Theisen, Senior Mechanic Brian Perry, Journeyman Mechanics Kyle Cross, Josh Marcum, Chris Boone, and Maintenance Workers Jeremy Bilbrey and Elijah Garrett.
Mechanics and electricians must complete a rigorous four-year training program in addition to the education they receive before coming to the Corps.
Carter described the training program as a testament to the field's commitment to safety. "We have a great responsibility to intimately know every aspect of our job and the equipment so we can operate in a safe environment while ensuring the safety of those around us."
The highly skilled maintenance staff work hard to keep the equipment operating at the same efficiency it did 80 years ago but go above and beyond. "They're innovative thinkers who find creative ways to do more with less," said Crawford.
At the power plant, creativity and innovation are on display. Garrett and Bilbrey have spent time applying fresh and updated coats of paint around the plant, giving it that 'new plant' glow. Marcum, a multi-talented individual, inspires a sense of pride and professionalism within the plant through his work. He has created custom light features projecting the 'Essayons' logo and a wood-framed elevator car shaft with the Corps Castle.
Creativity and innovative problem-solving are a theme at Dale Hollow. For 80 years, the generator turbine floor has been without a restroom. Maintenance workers have had to traverse the plant to clean themselves up after a job or utilize the bathroom. Additionally, access to drainage from a toilet was non-existent. Employees found an area on the turbine floor where they could create a washroom and install a toilet that can pump drainage to the existing sewer and assist in pumping the sink drain water to the sewer. When it's finished, employees will be able to use the sink for clean up and direct the wastewater to an appropriate method to be treated.
Carter described how mechanics and electricians recently rehabilitated the drive component of the tail deck crane for a fraction of the cost and now have another skillset. "Dale Hollow has become a reliable source of sustainability and reliability due to the professionalism of these people," said Carter.
Thanks in part to the pioneering efforts of Dale Hollow Dam and the people who keep it running, the Cumberland River Basin has been a steadfast provider of sustainable power to Tennessee and Kentucky for the past 80 years and will continue to provide power well into the future.
The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.
Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest Nashville District employment and contracting opportunities at https://www.linkedin.com/company/u-s-army-corps-of-engineers-nashville-district.
When thousands of gallons of water flow through a dam, it generates a lot of force and power.
But what happens when you harness that power? You could provide electricity to a community or two, of course.
Recently, a developer announced they will construct four new hydropower plants at locking facilities on all three major rivers in the greater Pittsburgh region.
“Partnering with developers to provide hydropower to the community is an important function,” said Benjamin Sakmar, the hydropower coordinator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District. “Especially in this day and age, the push for renewable energy is getting a lot of focus. We want to be good partners with companies looking to provide hydropower construction within the district.”
Rye Development, a developer of low-impact renewable hydropower generation, will construct facilities at Emsworth Locks and Dams on the Ohio River, at Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4, also known as Charleroi, and at the Allegheny River Locks and Dam 2.
“The Pittsburgh region has some of the most productive low impact run of river hydroelectric opportunities available in the U.S.” said Ushakar Jha, vice president for project engineering at Rye. “The economic benefit of constructing these projects will be felt by the local labor force in the region.”
The Pittsburgh District already has nine licensed and operating hydropower plants at their federal facilities, including five at locks and dams and four at reservoirs. Private industries or local governments run the plants to provide electricity to residents.
“Hydropower uses a resource that we have plenty of in our region: water,” Sakmar said. “We have the ideal topography, which channels the flow of water into our rivers and into our reservoirs. Some of our projects have been around for 100 years, so they already have energy built up, ready to harness with hydropower plants.”
Generally, hydropower plants work the same way on the river as at reservoirs. They take the force from water flow to spin large turbines connected to generators, transforming mechanical energy into electricity.
“The market in this region is incredibly advantageous from a power-offtake standpoint. These are some of the most productive projects with a clear line to commercial operation,” Jha said.
The capacity of each project will vary, but Rye estimates the four facilities will generate 250,000 megawatt hours annually for the next 100 years or more, enough to power 25,000 households per year.
Once construction for a new hydropower plant begins, completion may take 24 to 36 months. Rye has not yet set a date for breaking ground.
“The Pittsburgh District is critical to realizing these projects,” Jha said. “We are excited to work with the district moving forward, and this effort represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Pittsburgh region.”
The Emsworth location will host two hydropower plants because of its two dams. Emsworth is adjacent to Neville Island, located on the main channel of the Ohio River, just downstream from downtown Pittsburgh. Allegheny County has entered into a power purchase agreement with Rye to supply renewable electricity to the county from the Emsworth Project.
The Allegheny River Lock and Dam 2 is next to the Highland Park Bridge. The project will provide the University of Pittsburgh with on-demand, locally generated renewable power.
The Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 at Charleroi is finishing up a significant construction project to enlarge a chamber that began nearly 20 years ago. Rye will pursue hydropower construction sometime after the chamber is complete.
The constructor expects each project to generate 150-200 family wage jobs. In addition to providing renewable energy, some facilities include investment in new recreational fishing sites and a walkway leading from a parking area with designated parking spaces to the fishing platform.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not select the locations for new hydropower plants. Developers – whether private companies or local governments looking to provide power to their citizens – choose sites based on economic factors. Namely, they determine whether licensing, designing, planning, and constructing a hydropower plant will produce enough power for enough customers to remain in business.
“Choosing a hydropower site all boils down to economics,” Sakmar said. “Developers need to be sure choosing a location is going to be economical and profitable for them. Sometimes that includes making sure they have buyers for their electricity and investors ahead of time.”
Even though the Pittsburgh District operates 23 locks and dams and 16 reservoirs, only nine of those locations have hydropower plants in operation. Together, they have the potential to produce 570 megawatts, able to power 670,000 households per year.
In addition to the nine already in place, Rye and other developers have licensed 12 total hydropower facilities yet to be constructed.
Developers who want to build a hydropower facility must submit their plans through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC has the authority to decide whether a developer can build and operate a hydropower facility at a requested location. In addition, FERC performs environmental reviews to ensure facilities will not degrade the environment. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assists with design reviews at various planning stages.
“We work with the developer every step of the way,” Sakmar said. “We make sure a new facility isn’t going to cause any undue risk to our infrastructure, the public, water quality or the environment.”
Hydropower has several environmental requirements to maintain quality downstream, including water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, and flow.
Safety and impact on water operations are other important factors. The Pittsburgh District does not change its outflow projections at reservoirs or locking facilities to produce more electricity. Instead, the district determines outflow at reservoirs according to its mission to reduce the risk of flooding, keep river navigation flowing and meet specific water quality projections.
“Our primary mission is to protect lives and support inland navigation. We want to make sure new hydropower plants are not going to impair the mission for why our dams were built in the first place,” Sakmar said.
Reviewing a proposed plan and licensing each facility can take several years before construction can begin. It can be a long, arduous process, but one that helps ensure the quality of the nations’ waters while boosting local economies.
“Partnership with developers is key to transitioning our dams to meet 21st century needs,” Sakmar said. “Each of these partnerships we have with developers is beneficial in harnessing resources and energy we already have, rather than trying to depend on non-renewable materials. This is just one little piece of the puzzle to help solve the overall energy needs we’re all looking to navigate.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District awarded a contract to Norfolk Dredging Company for $14 million to conduct periodic nourishment of the Brigantine dune and berm Coastal Storm Risk Management project. The project is a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the City of Brigantine.
The contract calls for dredging and placing approximately 850,000 cubic yards sand. Sand is dredged from a borrow site near Brigantine Inlet. Sand is then pumped through a series of pipes, placed on the beach, and graded into an engineered dune and berm template, which is designed to reduce damages from coastal storm events. In Brigantine, sand will be placed in the northern portion of the community from just north of 14th Street south to approximately 4th Street North.
Norfolk Dredging Company is expected to begin dredging and beachfill operations in July 2023 and work is expected to be completed in the fall. Dunes will be repaired in certain areas; however, most of the work includes widening the beach between the toe of the dune and the water line.
The project is cost-shared between the Federal government, the State of New Jersey, and the municipality.
Reducing the Army’s carbon footprint is at the center of its open, sustainable building materials solicitation — an effort that seeks small businesses developing environmentally friendly construction solutions to meet the goals of the Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Plan and Army Climate Strategy.
While the open-topic solicitation will accept a variety of proposals that help reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions, solutions that prioritize sustainable materials such as precast concrete and recycled steel, low-logistics construction applications and the support of long-lasting, infrastructure technologies are at the forefront of the Army’s $13.3 million investment.
“With the continued release of open-topic solicitations, we hope to attract valuable innovations from small businesses that do not typically compete for SBIR awards,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program. “At the same time, these novel companies could address the carbon-intensive aspect of military operations through disruptive materials, logistics and technologies.”
The Army will assess small businesses that submit proposals for sustainable building materials and technologies based on the following criteria:
Up to $13.3 million in total Army funding
Through the clean tech solicitation, up to 15 companies will receive Phase I Army SBIR awards of up to $250,000 each to develop and deliver sustainable building materials and technologies.
Over the anticipated six-month period of performance, Phase I awardees will secure access to Soldier touchpoints that offer developmental and evaluation-based feedback on technologies in practical settings.
Additionally, Army SBIR will award up to five companies Direct to Phase II contracts, up to $1.9 million over an expected 18-month period of performance. During this time, small businesses will advance research and development efforts for eventual prototyping.
The solicitation begins pre-release on April 25 and lasts through May 17. Qualified small businesses can submit proposals between May 18 and June 13, with submissions closing at noon Eastern Time on June 13. Applicants must submit full proposal packages through the Defense SBIR|STTR Innovation Portal.
The Army Applied SBIR Program awards Phase I contracts to small businesses and nontraditional companies with technologies that show technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential. It gives Phase II awards to those that can address Army needs and gain further federal support. Direct to Phase II awards are for technologies already mature and ready for demonstration.
Small businesses can coordinate with technical, acquisition and operational subject-matter experts. These specialists provide information about the Army’s technological needs and guidance from the Army research and development ecosystem.
Companies capitalize on this by collaborating with technical points of contact that serve as resources for businesses as they mature their technologies for eventual insertion into Army acquisition programs.
The Army Applied SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on a flexible schedule to respond to the current and anticipated warfighting technology needs. For eligibility information and a list of open topics, please visit armysbir.army.mil.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology leverages technologies and capabilities to provide U.S. Soldiers a decisive advantage in any environment by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world’s finest equipment and services. For more information, visit army.mil/asaalt and follow @ArmyASAALT.
As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) works to modernize the nation’s infrastructure, it does so at a time when existing infrastructure components are operating well past their original lifespans. In the case of many of the locks supporting inland navigation, new techniques and technologies are critical to make sure lock facilities – some built in the 1930s – continue operating for another 100 years or more.
The key to that mission’s success may already exist in a material used consistently in military applications, private industry and in Europe, but one that has not yet been put to work in our nation’s civil works projects.
Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is a class of concrete well known for its strength, durability and sustainability. It is also a material very well understood by engineers and scientists at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and is at the center of what may be the future of new construction and rehabilitation of U.S. lock operations.
“We have been using UHPCs for a long time in military applications, such as hardening structures and force protection applications,” said Dr. Stephanie Wood, a research civil engineer at ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory. “Our experience with UHPCs goes back to even before we were ERDC, when the facility was known as the Waterways Experiment Station.
“We have been part of developing those concretes, testing them. Using our extreme weather facility at Treat Island, Maine, we have tested these concretes in that environment for decades. So, we are very confident in our capabilities, and in the performance of this strong and durable material.”
Thanks to years of ERDC research, engineers are now working with USACE to adopt the use of pre-cast UHPC panels for lock wall rehabilitation projects, replacing those made from traditional concrete and then covered with horizontal steel armor. Currently, the steel armor is cast into concrete panels in the precast manufacturing plant as horizontal strips.
The UHPC panels are not only stronger and more durable than those made with conventional concrete, but they do also not require steel armor.
Currently, damaged or deteriorated lock walls are repaired using traditional concrete with strengths ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). USACE District crews remove the damaged concrete down to the sound concrete. A pre-cast concrete is then placed over the sound concrete, and concrete is poured behind the panels to attach to the larger structure. “Those panels have been performing fairly well in the field, but sometimes we have issues with the steel armor,” Wood said. “Through normal operations of barge traffic, the armor and panels will get struck by barges. The metal will get caught, at times, and start pulling away from the concrete, creating a hazard, and in some cases, lock operators can no longer use that part of the lock chamber until repairs are made.”
In 2018, the Rock Island District issued a statement of need, asking if UHPC could be a substitute for current methods. Over the next three years, ERDC tested UHPC, discovering techniques that not only created a stronger and more resilient material, but also developed processes and guidance on how UHPC panels could be created using materials already on hand at concrete manufacturing facilities throughout the country.
During small-scale and large-scale testing, engineers also showed panels created with UHPC could be made thinner than those using conventional concrete.
“Panels using conventional concrete are traditionally 6-to-8 inches thick, which makes them pretty heavy and cumbersome. This requires USACE teams to have a very large crane on site to put them in place,” Wood said. “Not only does it take up a large footprint on site, but often times the crane requires just as many truck loads to haul it to the site as the panels themselves, which was the impetus of the statement of need from Rock Island.”
UHPC panels are no thicker than three inches and cure to a strength of 22,000 PSI in just 28 days. Using tests and data from more than three decades of research, ERDC tested the UHPC panels, including simulating what would happen if the panels were struck by a barge. The results validated the exceptional strength and durability of the UHPC panel.
“We have eliminated the coarse aggregate, or the rock, out of this mixture,” Wood said. “By eliminating the coarse aggregate, we have also eliminated the interfacial transition zone, which is where the cementitious paste meets the aggregate particle. This zone is typically the weakest location in conventional concrete, and we don’t have that in UHPC.”
Now that research proves the panels are stronger and more durable, the goal is to increase their usage in USACE projects.
“The biggest obstacles to overcome are the unfamiliarity with the product and with the technology, and the cost,” Wood said. “For most people, the only thing they do know about UHPC is that it is more costly up front.”
But that may no longer be an issue, Wood said.
The costs associated with the steel armor, along with the more complex logistics of casting it into the face of conventional concrete panels, increase project costs. The elimination of the steel, in addition to the fact you need less concrete to produce a much stronger panel, makes the use of UHPC more cost comparable.