Accelerate America #15 May 2016

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TAPPING CO2 AND SEAWATER IN THE LAST FRONTIER Facing astronomical oil heating costs, the Alaska SeaLife Center turned to heat pumps that leverage nearby seawater, including a high-powered CO2 system – By Michael Garry n March 24, 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound on the southern coast of Alaska, damaging nearly 1,500 miles of shoreline and killing thousands of marine animals like sea otters and harbor seals as well as some 250,000 seabirds.


In an effort to understand and alleviate the impact of the oil spill on its eco-system, the Alaska legislature in 1993 appropriated $12.5 million from the criminal settlement with Exxon to the southern Alaska city of Seward for the development of what became the Alaska SeaLife Center. Located on the northern shores of Resurrection Bay, west of Prince William Sound, the 120,000-square-foot SeaLife Center opened on May 2, 1998, the only institution in Alaska authorized to care for live stranded marine animals victimized by natural or man-made disasters. It also serves as a public aquarium and a research and education facility, attracting over 150,000 visitors annually to see marine life from the subarctic ecosystem of Alaska. Photography by Joshua Corbett 20

Accelerate America May 2016

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