Wave Energy Conversion

Harvesting wave energy for deployment of unmanned, non-fossil-fueled vessels for is a game-changer for autonomous data collection.   

The Challenge

There is much energy available for extraction and use in the wave motion present at the ocean’s surface.  It is our purpose to create a vessel which harvests this surface energy for use, becoming entirely self-sufficient.  Collected and stored energy may be used to power: on-board sensor devices, wireless communication, or propulsion devices–an ideal model for autonomous drone data collection; this list just being a beginning to the wide range of possibilities for such a vessel.  This concept of a deploy-and-forget device leads us to imagine many of the desirable features of such a model.   

The Solution

The surface motion in the ocean can be characterized as harmonic oscillations.  As such, our lab has designed a collection chamber with a special size and shape to utilize the physical laws of resonance to multiply the amplitude of ocean surface waves within to increase efficiency of energy extraction.  This device floats on the surface of the ocean with an open channel facing toward the incoming waves.  The changing volume ratios of air and water within the chamber–driven by the waves and amplified by harmonic resonance–is utilized to transfer energy into turbines and extraction into usable form.

Featured Photos

Prototype Fabrication I

Prototype Fabrication II

3D Printed Prototype

3D Model of the Wave Drone

Bird’s EYE View of 3D-Printed Prototype

Prototype in the Wavetank

Want to learn more about our wave energy harvesting drone?