Today our HMSC VC Intern Brian Verwey gives us an update on his work for the summer:
“This summer the Visitor Center is working on opening three new exhibits explaining three separate aspects of wave energy on the Oregon Coast. Part of our internship for the summer is tackling these new displays and making them “public friendly.” Diana is working on erosion due to wave action along the beach. Nick is creating tsunami proof structures. I am designing wave energy converter (WEC) models. Tuesday is our project day at the Visitor Center so instead of working on the floor we spend most of the day in the new wave energy section of the VC (closed to the public for now).
The idea behind the WEC exhibit is to demonstrate how energy is created from waves. To do this we are simplifying a working WEC design called a point absorber. A point absorber works by moving a magnet through as coil of wire that then creates an electromagnetic current. It’s a pretty basic concept that has proven very difficult to show in our wave tank in the VC. The most challenging part of the exhibit so far is getting our version of the point absorber to create electricity that can be displayed on a computer monitor and in turn will be easily recognized and understood by the public. As of yet it isn’t easy to understand. So for now I’ve focused my efforts on creating other models of WECs that don’t actually create energy but give the public an idea of how they work [such as the one below].
Last Tuesday I worked on creating an attenuating wave energy device similar to the Scottish “Pelamis.” It’s about 36” long and fits perfectly in one of our wave tanks. It works pretty well and for the next few project days I will be working out some kinks in the design. The main kink is creating an anchor system to attach it to the tanks so it doesn’t float away when waves are produced, and the other big kink is somehow orienting the model so when waves hit it, it doesn’t flip onto its side.”