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UNF students present wave energy generator at USDOE Marine Energy Competition

A team of University of North Florida students recently participated in theTwo students working in engineering lab on Osprey CREW project U.S. Department of Energy’s Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC) “Powering the Blue Economy.” The team was one of 15 international collegiate teams selected to “propose unique solutions for the burgeoning marine energy industry that can play a vital role in powering the blue economy.”

The concept of a “blue economy” is one which promotes sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth while preserving the ocean ecosystem. The competition is designed to bring together diverse groups of university students who are studying various disciplines to explore opportunities for marine energy technologies that will benefit maritime industries via real-world concept development experiences.

The participating teams were tasked to develop a business plan supported by market research and a conceptual-level technical design of a system that could be commercialized to address power needs, pitch their plan to a panel of judges and hypothetical investors, and design, build and test a device to achieve energy production.

The UNF team of seven students with majors in economics, civil and electrical engineering formed an international, interdisciplinary group to bring a wide variety of perspective and expertise to the project under the guidance of assistant professors Drs. Cigdem Akan and Brian Kopp from the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction as well as Dr. Nilufer Ozdemir from the Coggin College of Business.

For the competition, the students combined their skills to create an economical and sustainable solution to harvest the ocean’s untapped energy potential. The students presented their concept of Osprey CREW, an innovative, wave energy converter that is reliable, cost-effective, durable and simple to install. The team evaluated electricity-producing systems and conducted an environmental viability study to determine which system will function best in an ocean environment. They generated ideas that best fit a variety of applications within a “blue economy” and constructed a small-scale prototype of the final design which was presented at the competition. A business model covering aspects of outreach, sales and marketing was also developed. The students are awaiting competition results.