Raul Delga Delgadillo, a University of California, Riverside student recently learned he will receive a $15,000 grant from an EPA national sustainable design competition for his idea to capture energy from ocean currents.
Delgadillo, who will be a senior this fall at the Bourns College of Engineering, plans to spend the upcoming school year building a small-scale turbine and buoy system and testing it in a flow tank to determine the best way to maximize energy extraction. He expects the system will provide as much energy as an average wind turbine. His research comes shortly after the U.S. Department of Energy said wave and tidal energy, combined with other water-powered sources, could provide 15 percent of the United States’ electricity by 2030.
“The ocean remains an untapped frontier as a renewable energy source,” Delgadillo said. “I’m hoping to change that.”
The idea for Delgadillo’s EPA P3: People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability entry came out of a project for the Sustainable Product Design course taught by V. Sundararajan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
Delgadillo’s project proposes several innovative designs: the buoy, which will allow the device to move around until an optimum location is found, and the telescoping feature on the turbine, which allows it to vary in height and remain stationary if waves are present.
In the coming months, Delgadillo will perform experiments in a flow tank in the lab of Marco Princevac, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. He will then use the data he gathers to write a proposal for a second round of funding, for $90,000, from the EPA. He will find out in spring 2014 whether he receives that money, which would allow him to take the design to a real world application.
Raul Delga Delgadillo is an example of the significant impact University of California, Riverside has on its students, serving as a Catalyst for Innovation both in the classroom and out developing potentially global solutions.
Read the full article as published on June 18, 2013 by UCR Today.