Project name MADWEC
Project Title Maximal Asymmetric Drag Wave Energy Converter 3.0
Abstract The Maximal Asymmetric Drag Wave Energy Converter (MADWEC) device is being built and tested at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST). The MADWEC is used to harness the energy of oceanic waves to create electrical energy. It is a point absorber type wave energy converter that consist of a ballast, PTO unit, and buoy. Team MADWEC consists of many students and faculty members across various disciplines that all collaborate together to complete a design-oriented project that is entered into a worldwide competition for the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.  The MECC values the impact our work has on our communities and the blue economy. For this reason, our MADWEC team has conducted various community outreach events in an effort to inspire Boston-area high school students to take interest in STEM and blue economy fields through presentations on our work and research. Our hope is that we are able to make a lasting impact on the field of renewable energy—ocean wave energy harvesting specifically.

Over the last nine months our team has worked to improve and optimize past years designs. We started by making improvements to the system’s overall design and components.  Old parts were replaced with more robust components and some new parts were designed and manufactured on campus to improve the PTO unit’s efficiency. Following that, we improved the dry testing set up by designing a system that utilizes a winch to create tension in the tether by rotating an arm with various wave height adjustments at different speeds in a circle to simulate various oceanic wave conditions. The rotational motion of the winch is converted into linear displacement of the tether. This connects the PTO reel to the winch arm through a series of pulleys and causes line to be pulled off the PTO reel creating rotational motion of the PTO shaft. This mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy through the internal components of the PTO unit. Housed inside this PTO unit are the following components, six shafts, a torsions spring, a slip clutch, a one way bearing, two gearboxes, six generators, a rectifier, and a battery.  These components work in conjunction with one another to allow the MADWEC system to harness energy from ocean waves of up to 2 meters in height. The input and output power were recorded for several different conditions. The input power of the system is acquired through the use a load cell to gather force data, and an ultrasonic sensor to capture the linear velocity of the tether’s displacement. Our output power is in the form of electrical energy which is measured through the use of Arduinos and an oscilloscope.  With all of this data captured we are able to find the efficiency and charging capabilities of our system. The projected use for this MADWEC device is to store electrical power to recharge ocean surveillance vehicles such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV).

Faculty Advisors Dr. Mehdi Raessi & Dr. Dan MacDonald
Sponsor Dr. Mehdi Raessi & Dr. Dan MacDonald
Team lead Anthony Encarnacion & Marina Meehan
Team Members Kurt Andrade, Mohammed Shonar, Christian Abad

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