Waves 2 Water: Round 2

Even with all of the COVID-19 chaos in the background, Landon and I got our submission into the Design Stage of the Waves to Water Prize.  We ended up bringing in some UNC Charlotte to help us get across the finish line in the form of David Barnett (UNC Charlotte December graduate for mechanical design and visualization help) and Rusabh Gandhi (current UNC Charlotte MS student in Applied Energy and Electromechanical System for modeling assistance).  It involved the four of us distributed among 3 different states at times, but hopefully they like our submission.


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Ready for First Robotics Competition: Asheville

March 27-29th at UNC Asheville.  I’ll be the one in the black vest and yellow hat.

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Waves to Water Prize: Design Phase

I’ve had the pleasure of working the past few months with Landon Mackey, PhD on a entry into the Waves to Water Prize (https://www.herox.com/wavestowater) sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  The charge is to use wave energy to provide desalination for coastal communities as part of the recovery process following a natural disaster.  Landon and I met a number of years ago through meetings related to the NC Renewable Ocean Energy Program and share a similar outlook on engineering designs.  We’ve based our design on prior work done by the SAROS team (https://sarosdesalination.wordpress.com/), which was a spinoff of a UNC Charlotte senior design project, sponsored by Fred Wagner, a Charlotte area entrepreneur.  Our design, based on lessons learned during the SAROS project is the Wave Actuated Tethered Emergency Response Bouyant Reverse Osmosis System (WATERBROS).  We were pleased to be selected as one of the winning teams out of the CONCEPT phase of the competition (video here) and are hard at work on the DESIGN phase submission.


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December 2019 Graduates: Casey and David

This past December saw the graduation of Casey Nichols with his MS in Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems and David Barnett with his Graduate Certificate in Applied Energy and Electromechanical Systems.  My goal with mentoring students in to add value regardless of where the students are when they come into the group.  Both Casey and David came into the group as motivated, technically sound undergraduates with a willingness to work and an eagerness to learn.  I’m happy to say that they are stronger when they left the group than when they joined, but the research group is a whole is better for their contributions over the past few years.  Luckily, I have a new crop of undergraduates Peter and Tyler who look quite promising and who benefited from Casey and David’s mentoring over the Fall semester.  Casey has started a job at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado and information about David can be found at (https://www.davidbarnett.info/).

C. Nichols, D. Barnett, A. Joyner, and S. Modaresahmadi at NCROEP 2019.

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Challenges of Magnetic Gearing Assembly

Some of the challenges of magnetic gearbox assembly, demonstrated at small scale.

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Distributed Wind Workshop at Beech Mountain

September saw David and Sina make their way up to the Appalachian State Small WInd Research Site for a workshop on distributed wind energy generation organized by Brent Summerville.

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Collaboration on the Waves to Water Prize

I was happy to collaborate with Landon Mackey from NC State on the recent Waves to Water Prize




Fingers crossed that our venture WATER BROS is successful as Landon is a blast to work with!


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