Feature ArticleInvention of WITT Device To Harvest Marine Energy
By Martin Wickett • Mairi Wickett
WITT Ltd. (Bude, England) has created a technology that can collect all wave energy and turn it into usable power. The Whatever Input to Torsion Transfer (WITT) captures six degrees of chaotic motion, working on the same principle as the self-winding watch, and can collect power from water, wind, human, animal or vehicle motion. WITT recently won the $100,000 prize in the prestigious General Dynamics/Gulfstream 'Leap to Zero' Navigator Award presented by Ocean Exchange, which recognizes cutting-edge inventions that can make an impact on a global scale.
The WITT device, invented by civil engineer Martin Wickett of WITT Ltd.
WITT is also working with a strong consortium in the southwest of England on a Technology Strategy Board (TSB) 'Vessel Efficiency Award.' The consortium partners are A&P Falmouth, Supacat, University of Exeter and Plymouth University, collaborating to bring to the marine industry a groundbreaking renewable energy device that will harvest energy from a ship's motion at sea and turn it into usable power, with a view to offsetting vessel fuel costs. The aim is to demonstrate the capability of the WITT as an energy harvesting device in vessels 500 tonnes and over, collecting their pitch and roll motion and transforming it into a ready power source.
TSB has stated that a 1-pence-per-liter increase in fuel price will cost the U.K. government in excess of £15 million per year. Of course, all governments across the globe face potentially greater operational costs resulting from fuel expenses.
TSB is funding the WITT project and will aid in understanding to what extent the power generated will reduce the amount of fuel used by a ship, which will save money and cut back on carbon emissions.
The revolutionary WITT device is being tested now by the University of Exeter at their Dynamic Marine Component Test facility (DMaC), and testing will continue for several weeks. Although the DMaC was designed and built to test mooring platforms, it is suitable for testing the WITT because it emulates the pitch and roll of ships in order to calculate power savings. The results are being recorded in a performance table. From these tabulated results, it will be possible to identify the ideal size of the WITT device and the best location on a ship to harvest wave motion. The University of Plymouth will produce a report on vessel motion in relation to the WITT device. The program of work will conclude in June 2014.
The technology was invented by civil engineer Martin Wickett over a six-month period in 2008/2009. A granted patent is now in place, and a follow-on has been filed for global patent protection. To continue this article please click here.
Martin Wickett has a bachelor of science degree and is the technical director of WITT Ltd.
Mairi Wickett has a bachelor of arts degree and is the managing director of WITT Ltd.