Ocean Energy Conversion: Electrical Energy Conversion and Desalination
Michael May ’20, Justin McCormack ’20, Hayden Smith ’20, Kyle Howard ’20
Advisors: Lee Fellows, Coordinator of Science Facilities and Equipment and Steve Alexander, Professor of Physics
While conceptualizing this project, we wanted to address the critical issue of renewable energy with a solution that would effectively and efficiently generate usable energy. For this we chose the most available and untapped source: ocean water. Winds driven by weather phenomena produce waves, and rising and falling wave action produces an almost constant reciprocating kinetic force that can be tapped by shore installations throughout most of the world. Our goal is to create a self-sustaining pier, drawing energy from the ocean and converting it into electrical energy, while using Reverse Osmosis technology to create fresh water. We have emulated this by building a system that focuses around the compression and decompression of a piston with an 8 inch stroke, which then siphons the water from a water source (bucket) through hoses. After the decompression of the piston causes an inflow of water, and when the piston compresses it then pushes the water to the next section of our system. With this, the water initially enters our reverse osmosis filter generating clean energy and flows through a turbine which generates electrical energy. Then water cycles back into the original bucket resulting in a system that is completely renewable and sustainable, fulfilling our goal. Data taken will include the amount of energy produced scaled to a larger life-size mode, quality of clean water, the project’s economic applicability with projected business model, and a biochemical analysis of changeable variables to greater enhance the longevity of our system in an oceanic environment.