Transforming Waves to Energy: Ocean Power

(Pictured below, from left: Kevin Quach, Nick Raymond, & Thomas Rumble transporting their Wave Energy Converter Buoy)

The wave motion of the ocean is constant and constantly attracts inventors eager to its mechanical energy to power machines on land. The Ocean Power team from UC Davis has spent their summer actively working to finish building the project and intend to test the device sometime this summer in Bodega Bay. The project, which won the first Sustainability Award Competition at CITRIS@Davis in December 2012, is creating a prototype that can harness mechanical energy created by ocean waves to produce electricity. All generated energy is dissipated through a 1500 watt resistor, so no electricity is actually stored onboard— this was done to simplify the electrical circuit for the prototype.

The Ocean Power Team (from left): Nick Raymond, Tom Rumble, Teresa Yeh, Kevin Quach, Alex Beckerman.

The team is working with the UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine Lab to coordinate the testing phase of the project. With the device weighing more than 1,400 lbs and being over 45 feet tall simply transporting the project can be a challenge. 

The Ocean Power Project is a team of mechanical engineering students working to develop the framework for a point source absorbing wave energy converter that can be easily installed and operated by a small group of individuals. Their efforts have focused on modeling and designing the power take-off system that converts the energy of waves to usable electricity.

The group has spent the last six months designing and building a wave energy converter capable of producing renewable energy from the motion of ocean waves near shore. The objective is to use “off-the-shelf” parts so that others will be able to replicate the design, and after testing has been completed a comprehensive instruction manual will be published online so that others will be able to replicate what they have done and continue to enhance and improve the design.

More about this project can be found at: and

Posted in NewsUC Davis