by Juliette Lehman ’22
Webb Institute was a first time competitor in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC), which is hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The MECC requires participating teams to complete a technical design, business plan, and financial analysis of a particular marine energy solution. Teams are also required to participate in various forms of community outreach to increase understanding and interest of marine energy.
The Webb MECC team also completed the optional Build and Test portion of the competition. The team was comprised of seven students: Juliette Lehman ’22, Sasha Kritsuk ’22, Luke Kiely ’22, Minh Tran ’22, Adriana Torres-Rodriguez ’23, Si Cong Chen ’23, and Rebecca Ashmore ’25, and was advised
by Professors Michael Martin and Richard Royce.
The team submitted their report, “An Oscillating Water Column Wave Energy Converter for Small-Scale Disaster Relief” along with a poster and presentation of the research. This research was then presented to a panel of industry professionals.
The Build and Test portion of the project was taken from Juliette Lehman ’22 and Sasha Kritsuk’s ’22 thesis, The Design, Construction, and Testing of an Oscillating Water Column Wave Energy Converter. Financial analyses were performed based on Luke Kiely’s ’22 thesis, A Feasibility Study of the Installation and Operation of a Floating Offshore Windfarm in the United States. The focus of the technical design was to create a simple, cost-effective oscillating water column that could generate enough power to operate an ambulatory health-care facility and desalination plant. The business plan targeted areas that are particularly susceptible to frequent natural disasters.
For its community engagement, the Webb team worked hard to create educational materials and kits for young students, host and attend community events, and interact with industry professionals. Professor Bradley Golden connected the team with the Girl Scouts of America, who visited Webb to learn about wave energy and build their own model oscillating water column! The team also attended the Brooklyn Boatworks Launch Day, where students also built and interacted with their own wave energy converters. Adriana Torres-Rodriguez ’23 and Si Cong Chen ’23 attended Water Power Week to gain an understanding of the elements important to creating a business model for wave energy converters.
The team was excited to receive awards for both Best Outreach and Community Engagement and First Place Overall. While the team was thrilled to perform so well in its first year of competing, there was also much to learn from this first year. This competition not only provided resources and funding for research but was also a wonderful opportunity for Webb Institute to form an inter-class team of students. This year’s team is excited to hear that another Webb team has been approved for next year’s competition and we wish them the best of luck!
More information about the team can be found on webbmecc.wordpress.com!