A University of California, Riverside student recently learned he will receive a $15,000 grant from an EPA national sustainable design competition for his idea to capture energy from ocean currents.
Raul Delga Delgadillo, who will be a senior this fall at the Bourns College of Engineering, plans to spend the upcoming school year building a small-scale turbine and buoy system and testing it in a flow tank to determine the best way to maximize energy extraction. He expects the system will provide as much energy as an average wind turbine.
Delgadillo’s research comes shortly after the U.S. Department of Energy said wave and tidal energy, combined with other water-powered sources, could provide 15 percent of the United States’ electricity by 2030.
“The ocean remains an untapped frontier as a renewable energy source,” Delgadillo said. “I’m hoping to change that.”
Delgadillo, who grew up in Chula Vista, just south of San Diego, didn’t intend to go to college until he was encouraged to apply by friends during his senior year. At the time, he was living on his own, as his parents, who were divorced, had both moved to Texas for work.