Engineers at the Manhattan College have made progress on the development of wave energy device that will be competing in the 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition.

Photo of wave energy prototype in test tank (Courtesy of Manhattan College)
Wave energy prototype in test tank (Courtesy of Manhattan College)

In the autumn of 2020, a group of mechanical engineering students, led by Masoud Masoumi, a visiting assistant professor of mechanical engineering, started developing a system that converts the energy of ocean waves into electricity.

Since, the project has been funded by the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE).

With its support, the team of seven students will participate in the 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC), along with 16 teams from across the country, including the University of Washington, UC Berkeley and Purdue.

The students are working on the development of a device whose design features a specially arranged stack of magnets that moves up and down within a tube, wrapped by multiple coils at its midsection.

“When the waves come and undulate, the tube goes up and down, that stack of magnets will start oscillating. As long as the magnets keep moving, with respect to the coils, then it generates electricity”, explained Masoumi.

The design for stack of magnets as part of wave energy device (Courtesy of Manhattan College)
The design for stack of magnets as part of wave energy device (Courtesy of Manhattan College)

Nicholas Vella, a graduate student working on this project, said: “Green energy solutions are going to be huge. By distributing the load from where you’re drawing power, these alternative sources safeguard that. If one of those resources goes down, you can still rely on other sources, and not put a lot of stress on that one source you’re trying to draw from”.

Manhattan College team, and other selected entries, will participate in the competition in spring 2021.

They will be asked to develop a market-research-supported business plan and conceptual-level technical design of a system that could be commercialized to address power needs for a chosen sector of the blue economy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) said earlier.

Managed by NREL on behalf of U.S. DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), MECC encourages undergraduate and graduate students to unlock the power of the ocean, rivers, and tides to develop, design, and test the technologies that build resilient coastal communities and provide power at sea.

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