Power generated from solar panels or wind turbines is nothing new to the world of sustainable energy, but what about a charging system that harnesses the energy from indoor swimmers as they glide through the waters. Yinger ‘Eagle’ Jin, a sophomore at Wake Forest University, built an oscillating water column that measures the amount of electricity produced by the pool’s waves. Using the amount of air pushed out of the cylinder to drive a turbine at the top, the column that’s submerged in the large body of water ultimately converts wave energy into electricity.
To his amazement, Jin found the swimmers’ laps can generate 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which would be enough to power the pool room for the entire day. While the project is small in scale, the technique can definitely be applied to bigger pools of water.
“There is certainly room for continuation in Eagle’s project; in particular one publishable goal is to calculate how much energy could be produced through wave energy off the coast of North Carolina,” said Sarah Mason, Jin’s mathematics professor. “We have computed rough estimates but would need to factor in more details and be more precise if we wanted to get an accurate prediction.”