Mechanical engineering student, Jacob Woeste worked with Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics professor Mark Turner, ScD, coupling his love for boating and renewable energy to make positive environmental impacts.
Energy ships are essentially sailboats that drag turbines through the water in order to create a renewable source of electricity. Woeste elaborates, “The idea is to electrolyze the surrounding water in order to create hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be stored on board the ship and later removed to power fuel cells on land.”
Over the summer, Woeste designed, developed and manufactured hydrofoils which lift the sailboat’s hulls out of the water, reducing the drag of the sailboat. Water pollution from nonrenewable resources is a major contributor to environmental issues such as global warming and climate change. Woeste believes this research will make a positive difference since the working hydrofoils, “will be used as a proof-of-concept and allow for preliminary testing of the turbine (see picture).”
Woeste, recipient of the Joseph H. Humpert Robotics Club Scholarship, says his experience in the summer research program opened up multiple doors for him—he even had the opportunity to sail and exchange design ideas with Professor Turner. “I learned what aerodynamics is all about. I took an abstract concept, engineered a tangible design, personally manufactured the final product and tested it. I learned how to take an idea and make it a reality.”
These students can testify that the 12-week summer Protégé program provided them with an invaluable wealth of hands-on research experience and deeper understandings of their own research goals. The College of Engineering and Applied Science proudly applauds these outstanding students in their mission to engineer better.