Topologically Optimized Wave Energy Harvester

By: Katherine R.
Year: 2023
School: Sage Hill
Grade: 11
Science Teacher: Rena Dear

In a world hungry for sustainable energy solutions, Katherine’s science project takes a remarkable leap towards harnessing the untapped potential of wave energy. Her project focuses on the creation of topologically optimized wave energy harvesters, employing cutting-edge simulations, including a fluid particle simulator, and innovative compliant mechanisms.

The Unseen Power of Waves: Waves, often overlooked in the realm of renewable energy, embody a vast and powerful resource waiting to be harnessed. Katherine begins by emphasizing the diverse principles behind wave energy harvesters, which aim to convert the mechanical energy of waves into electric potential energy. This introduces the challenge of creating scalable, robust, and optimized harvesters adaptable to different bodies of water.

The Role of Compliant Mechanisms: Katherine recognizes the importance of compliant mechanisms in achieving longevity and customization in wave energy harvesters. These mechanisms, designed to absorb and transmit motion smoothly, are integrated as a vital component in her project. To model the kinetostatics, Katherine initiates with the Pseudo Rigid Body Model, a technique that simplifies compliant mechanisms into rigid members for analysis.

The Digital Frontier: A standout feature of Katherine’s project is its entirely digital execution through code. She elucidates how the simulations, performed digitally, serve as the backbone of her research. The wave particle simulation and compliant mechanism synthesizer, developed within a software framework, demonstrate the project’s commitment to innovation in the digital realm.

Katherine openly acknowledges the time constraints that prevented the full integration of simulations. Despite this hurdle, she presents a viable solution: a wave energy harvester built within a software framework tailored for compliant mechanisms, optimized to meet various criteria. While the solution is not fully complete, the project showcases the potential for the development of more versatile and customizable wave energy harvesters.

Katherine’s science project marks a pioneering effort in the realm of renewable energy, specifically in the utilization of wave power. Through digital simulations and innovative compliant mechanisms, she opens the door to a future where optimized wave energy harvesters can contribute significantly to our sustainable energy needs. As she continues to refine her work, the potential for a breakthrough in renewable energy solutions becomes even more promising. Katherine’s project is not just a science experiment; it’s a bold step towards a greener and more sustainable future.