TO:CMA Spherical Generator

Angel Francisco Martinez, Delia Beatriz Martinez, and Trupti
Bulbule, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

The TO:CMA Spherical Generator creates copious amounts of clean electricity out of ocean waves at costs below all major existing renewable energy sources. The design is based on the geometrical rearrangement of the Linear Inductance Permanent Magnet Generator (LIPMG). Three rings of concentric sizes and perpendicular arrangement are housed in a waterproof buoy that will transfer the force of the passing waves into motion of magnets. Electrical current is produced as a result of the motion between the wire loop and the magnets in accordance with Faraday’s Law. For synergy reasons, arrays of these buoys will be installed in between wind turbines of offshore wind farms.

Conventional point absorbers employ linear generators, which can only harness energy from movement in the vertical motion. The limited one-degree-of-freedom motion of the magnets in the linear generators drastically reduces the ability to harness energy from the waves since buoys experience motion in all six degrees of freedom when deployed offshore. This design can break off this constraint and harness power from movement in all six degrees of freedom through its unique configuration of the novel permanent magnet generator.

“Winning this contest will help us bring the right kind of publicity and acknowledgment necessary to bring our invention to the market. NASA Tech Briefs has long been a source of inspiration, motivating us to create technologies with an applicable and relevant purpose.”

This invention will supplement the electricity produced from wind farms by harvesting the vast energy of the waves in between the wind towers. Since the major costs of building offshore power-generating plants will have already been invested in laying the expensive ocean bottom power lines, the buoys will have very low average costs for these offshore wind plants.

Since the major costs of building offshore power-generating plants will have already been invested in laying the expensive ocean bottom cables, these buoys will have very low average costs for these wind farms. In comparison to similar products, the TO:CMA Spherical Generator has the main advantage of being less expensive to produce and easier to handle (due to its smaller size), while being very close to the competition in its effectiveness.

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Honorable Mentions

Pervious Concrete

Steve Stark, Champlin, MN

Smart precast pervious concrete slabs/ tiles/paver construction products make up a pollution abatement technology that is environmentally friendly, durable, versatile, cost-effective, and easy to install. As storm water races across pavement, it picks up contaminants on its way to the storm drain. This technology (lifespan of 15 to 30 years) helps in filtering and recharging local ground water; reducing flow of storm water to holding ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans; and can filter out many contaminants such as oil.

The technology can be used for new construction or to retrofit existing concrete/asphalt surfaces. The concrete filtration system is created with controlled amounts of aggregates, water, and cementious materials to create a mass of aggregate particles covered with a thin coating of paste. The pervious concrete mixture contains little or no sand and builds a strong, yet substantially void content.

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Landin Engine

Peter Landin, Miami, FL

The Landin Engine has only three moving parts: a rotor, an orbital swivel valve, and a stationary swivel valve that form a variable combustion chamber. As this chamber increases its capacity, it generates a vacuum and suctions a mass of air through the intake check valve. Direct injected fuel mixes with this air mass to form a combustible atmosphere. When ignited, the combustion closes the intake check valve instantaneously and forces the orbital swivel valve and rotor to rotate as one piece, transferring a high-power, high-torque rotation. This unique design allows heat dissipation through an aluminum jacket that fits around the engine.

This engine does not require an oil pump, because the oil is distributed by centrifugal forces through four slots in the rotor lubricating the few friction areas.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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