Tulane University received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for the university's RiverSphere project (see "AC/Dixie," Green Matters, July 27, 2009), which researches renewable energy technology using turbines powered by the Mississippi River's current. The grant, funded by disaster appropriations from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, allows for a project space that includes an education facility, research center, exhibit space and incubator program for companies exploring renewable energy technologies. The planned 22,000-square-foot campus on the Robin Street wharf sits next to Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras world and will focus on in-stream hydrokinetic technologies and cost-effective, sustainable and eco-friendly energy alternatives.
The project will be "vendor-neutral," allowing multiple companies to use the facility and its floating barges to test hydrokinetic turbine prototypes. The research facility also will house laboratories studying the hydrology and ecology of the Lower Mississippi River Deltaic Plain.
Project supporters include the Port of New Orleans, Blaine Kern Studios and Mardi Gras World, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Alliance for Affordable Energy and American Rivers.
Visit www.riverweb.org for more information.