Developing an Ocean Wave Buoy to Generate Renewable Energy

Campbell, Angusina
Lee, Aaron
Bentz, Amy
Lau, Darren
Wong, Travis
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Humans pollute the earth with fossil fuel emissions. The pollution leads to increased ocean acidification and smog. One solution to lessen this damage is to utilize renewable energy. Ocean wave power is a renewable energy harvested by Wave Energy Converter (WEC) buoys. WECs generate energy by oscillating in the waves. The most efficient power generation by buoys happens when their natural oscillating matches the wave period (the rate at which each wave contacts the buoy); this phenomenon is known as resonance. The buoy that captures wave energy most effectively is the Oscillating Water Column (OWC) because of its ability to capture waves from any position. The Wave Energy Team designed, fabricated and tested an OWC with the main objective of generating renewable power. For the potential power, O‘ahu’s east side was chosen as the test site. The aim of this project was to deploy the buoy in an intermediate wave zone, the area between surf and deep water. In this work, wave data were collected through a simulation and scaled for practical application. A small wave buoy resonant was then developed for a two-second wave period. Finally, the results were applied to a large-scale buoy. The feasibility of creating a resonant OWC was demonstrated in the assigned zone. Resonance was achieved for the smaller buoy hull in the controlled testing site. The larger buoy, when deployed in the ocean, produced about 0.3 milliwatts when pushed up and down with artificial oscillation.
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