News 2021: Innovating ways to power the blue economy
Innovating ways to power the blue economy

UMassD College of Engineering capstone student team wins “Best Build” & “Best Pitch” categories at the 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition.

College of Engineering capstone team
Pictured from left to right: Dr. Banafsheh Seyed-Aghazadeh & College of Engineering students Joseph Silveira, Tyler Viera, Dylan Souza, Mohammad Mousavisani, Chandler Jardin, Ross Jacques, & Sarah Dulac. (Photographer: Karl Dominey)

UMass Dartmouth Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering capstone student team won in the “Best Build” and “Best Pitch” categories at the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC), which took place on April 28, 2021. The winning project is titled “Powering Aquaculture with Offshore Vertical Axis Wind and Current Turbines.”

Dr. Banafsheh Seyed-Aghazadeh who is an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of Laboratory for Fluid-Structure Interactions Studies at UMass Dartmouth mentored the team, Green Lobstahs. “Our multi-disciplinary team of students were asked to design a device that optimizes technology, reduces costs, and explores new opportunities for marine energy with the goal of powering the blue economy,” Dr. Seyed-Aghazadeh says. “Our team competed in this national competition against some of the best schools in the country and came away with two awards.”

The Green Lobstahs’ team members include mechanical engineering students Sarah Dulac, Andrea Elloian, Ross Jacques, Chandler Jardin, Kevin Raggiani, and Joseph Silveira; electrical engineering students Dylan Souza and Tyler Viera; and business students Darion Gregory and Alec Peinkofer of St. Bonaventure University. Dr. Konrad Jamro, an associate professor of Management & Marketing and co-founder of the Leadership Certificate Program at St. Bonaventure University, served as the collegiate team co-advisor. The team received additional mentorship from capstone course instructor at UMass Dartmouth, Dr. Hamed Samandari.

UMass Dartmouth and St. Bonaventure University came together to contribute to an original design idea of a “Vertical Axis Wind Turbine and an Underwater Current Turbine” housed on a stable offshore floating platform. The team developed a business plan for their proposed solution to power the blue economy and pitched their market assessment and detailed technology design to a team of judges during the two-day competition event, which earned the team the award of the Best Pitch in this competition.

“This design aims to fulfill the need that aquaculture farms have for sustainable and eco-friendly energy sources,” says Seyed-Aghazadeh. “By utilizing the copious supply of offshore energy that resides in the form of wind and current energy, our design aims to produce a consistent and reliable energy source that will help to grow and expand the blue economy.”

New to the 2021 competition was the build-and-test segment, which allowed interested teams to put their devices to experimental testing. “To test the feasibility of the proposed design idea, the team modified, designed, and fabricated one of a kind combined wind and current flow channel testing facility at Laboratory for Fluid-Structure Interactions Studies that earned the team their win in the Best Build category of the competition,” says Seyed-Aghazadeh.

For more information about the competition and results, visit U.S. Department of Energy Marine Energy Collegiate Competition (MECC) and 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competitors Help Chart the Blue Economy Course.