Ocean harvesting buoy using offshore wind turbines

Conference Dates

November 4-6, 2019


While wind power has been taking off ocean power has remained stuck in the development stage. There are several design challenges for ocean power. Ocean water is corrosive to many materials due to the high salt concentration. Ocean waves vary in strength significantly from weak to very strong. Most energy harvesting devices require maintenance and having the device in the ocean makes it difficult to maintenance. Lastly the current cost per kWh is significantly higher than other forms of energy generation. A solution to a few of these problems is to piggyback off projects that are already being installed. An offshore wind turbine provides the means to overcome a few of these issues. This design is a mechanically simple device; a buoy that wraps around the base of the turbine that floats on top of the water. As the water rises and falls it will cause the buoy to move up and down. This device will drive a generator that is placed within the wind turbine above the water line to generate electricity. This energy will be carried by the high capacity wires already in place used by the wind turbines. The problems that are solved via this solution are as follows. Installation costs are significantly reduced because there is existing infrastructure. Maintenance becomes easier when the majority of the equipment is above the water and on an existing structure. The majority of the equipment is protected from powerful ocean waves, corrosive water, and invasive sea life. This research is important because we have yet to see a ocean power device that has taken off commercially, meaning the ocean remains a massive untapped energy resource that if it could be used would impact societies positively across the world.

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