History and Future of Ocean Energy (2016-2017)

The ocean represents a highly interconnected and more difficult environment to manage than most terrestrial systems. The surge in ocean renewable energy technologies and newfound hydrocarbon reserves make this issue an emerging one that also has a significant history.

This Bass Connections project team explored ocean common-pool resource control, engineering, technology, regulation, corporate policies and environmental stewardship. Team members assessed the consequences of human decisions on deep-sea mining, traditional oil and gas development, renewable energy sources, new technologies and governance of “high-seas” ocean energy resources.

While offshore wind energy is growing at the state level, state policymakers lack sufficient information to pursue implementation within a shorter timeframe. There are noted barriers (including costs, stakeholder interests and permits) that will arise in this process and need to be addressed. The team produced a report containing findings from its research into best practices for developing offshore wind energy that any state policymaker can use to pursue an offshore wind farm while avoiding common barriers.

Ocean waves represent an enormous source of energy that is available to power technologies such as tracking the migratory patterns of endangered marine mammals, powering remote buoys for environmental ocean monitoring and creating a network of wireless, battery-free ocean sensors for safety offshore. Team members investigated ocean energy harvesting using nonlinear dynamics to enhance the amount of kinetic energy available to an electrostatic energy converter. In the system, harvested mechanical motion is converted into usable electrical power by means of a novel rotary parallel plate capacitor. The well-known triboelectric effect is used to provide the initial charge on the harvester plates.

Taking the team’s research further, Ashley Blawas, Brandon Dalla Rosa and Sam Kelly received a Bass Connections Follow-on Student Research Award to produce a digital acoustic recording tag that reliably and accurately records and stores data using triboelectric power.

Timing

Fall 2016 – Spring 2017

Team Outcomes

Best Management Practices for Developing Offshore Wind Energy in the United States (Hannah Derrick, Imani Dorsey, Leah Louis-Prescott, Jeannie McKinney, Genevieve Valladao, Nikila Vasudevan)

Designing an Energy Harvesting Buoy (Ashley Blawas, Kip Coonley, Brandon Dalla Rosa, Kelsey Evezich, Brent Hermiller, Nicholas Naclerio, Dane Sequeira, Trevyn Toone, Justin Wang, Martin Brooke, Brian Mann, Doug Nowacek)

This Team in the News

Energy Student Profile: Leah Louis-Prescott (MEM ’18)

Student Laurels and Honors for 2017

Students Present Their Research and Learn from Each Other at the Bass Connections Showcase

Twelve Students Receive Grants to Take Their Bass Connections Research Further

Dorsey’s Passion off the Pitch

See related teams, Ocean Energy: Products and Pollutants (2017-2018) and History and Future of Ocean Energy (2015-2016).

Themes

Faculty/Staff Team Members

Lori Bennear, Nicholas School - Environmental Sciences & Policy*
Martin Brooke, Pratt School - Electrical & Computer Engineering*
Kip Coonley, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Jay Golden, Nicholas School - Earth & Ocean Sciences*
Brian Mann, Pratt School - Mechanical Engineering & Material Science*
Jonas Monast, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Douglas Nowacek, Nicholas School - Marine Science & Conservation*
John Virdin, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions*

Graduate Team Members

Noelle DeStefano, Nicholas School - PhD in Environment
Jeannie McKinney, Sanford School - Master of Public Policy

Undergraduate Team Members

Ashley Blawas, Biomedical Engineering
Brandon Dalla Rosa, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Hannah Derrick, Environmental Sciences (BS)
Monika Dharia, Environmental Sciences (BS), Economics (AB2)
Imani Dorsey, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
Connor Guest, Mechanical Engineering
Brandon Hull, Economics (AB)
Samuel Kelly, Mechanical Engineering
Samuel Pickerill, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
Trevyn Toone, Biology (AB), Earth & Ocean Sciences (AB2)
Genevieve Valladao, Earth & Ocean Sciences (BS)
Nikila Vasudevan, Biomedical Engineering
Justin Wang, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Computer Science (AB2)

Community Team Members

John Young, Continental Shelf Associates

* denotes team leader

Status

Completed, Archived