Institute when accepted: University of Hawaii at Manoa

A More Efficient Wave Energy Retraction Mechanism
Project Site: Trex Enterprises Corporation
Mentor: Ned Davis

Project Abstract:

As the world becomes more conscious of the environment, clean, renewable energy sources hold great promise. One abundant resource to be utilized is the energy in ocean waves, commonly known as wave energy. Various wave energy-harvesting devices are currently in development. One type in particular utilizes a float or buoy to harvest energy as a wave passes, and then uses springs or counterweights to return to its initial position, waiting for the next wave. However, it is difficult to find a one size fits all solution efficient for various wave heights and current conditions. Developing an active retraction mechanism to return the device to its initial position between waves will increase the efficiency of wave energy harvesting devices. This mechanism uses a smart microcontroller to receive information about the wave from a sensor, interpret the data, and then engage a motorized mechanism to complete the retraction. I have completed the design of this retract mechanism and mounted the hardware into a prototype wave energy harvesting device. After implementing the software specifications, I tested this system by means of the prototype, and it is planned to incorporate this active retract mechanism into future wave energy devices. By efficiently harvesting the ocean’s energy, a more sustainable environment may become a reality. Since the ocean encompasses about 70% of the Earth, wave energy may ultimately be the future of renewable energy.