Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011OH239B

Generating Renewable Energy on Lake Erie with Wave Energy Converters: A Feasibility Study

Institute: Ohio
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $25,537 Total Non-Federal Funds: $50,799

Principal Investigators: Ethan Kubatko

Abstract: The State of Ohio currently generates around 90 percent of its power from coal. In addition to being the largest single man-made source of greenhouse gases, the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, is also the biggest contributor to acid rain, which is responsible for a large percentage of the toxins found in the Great Lakes. So-called nonpoint source pollution, such as acid rain and also agricultural runoff, now accounts for most of the water quality problems found in Lake Erie and its tributaries. In an effort aimed at reducing Ohio's dependence on electricity generated from coal-burning power plants, the primary objective of this proposal is to investigate the feasibility of generating clean, renewable energy on Lake Erie by harnessing the Lake's wave energy through the use of a novel kinetic energy harvesting technology called an nPower Wave Energy Converter (WEC) developed by Tremont Electric, LLC, a Cleveland-based alternative energy company. Specifically, in order to better quantify the amount of energy that could potentially be generated using the WEC concept, and to identify optimal placement of the devices within the Lake, computer-based wave simulations will be performed to characterize the wave energy density of the Lake.